Co-Responsible Masculinities: a MenEngage Iberia project

MenEngage Iberia, sub-network of MenEngage Europe which has members in Portugal and Spain, is implementing a year-long multi-stakeholder/collaborative project to promote men's responsibility for caregiving towards the achievement of a fairer and more equitable society.

‘Masculinidades Corresponsables’ (Co-Responsible Masculinities) is a pioneering collaboration between 7 Spanish members of MenEngage Iberia and the Spanish Ministry of Equality as part of its “Plan Corresponsables.” This innovative initiative represents a strategic partnership dedicated to reshaping traditional notions of masculinity and promoting co-responsibility in caregiving and domestic tasks. The project is a focal point in addressing gender norms and fostering equality, with emphasis on engaging men in challenging societal expectations.

As the first public policy at the national state level in Spain targeting men and masculinities, ‘Masculinidades Corresponsables’ seeks to redefine gender roles and contribute to reducing care gaps and inequalities post the COVID-19 crisis. This collaboration exemplifies MenEngage Iberia’s commitment to societal transformation and aligns with the broader objectives outlined in the Spanish government’s Plan Corresponsables. 

The project was launched with a new website that explains its aims and approaches.

Together with seven members of MenEngage Iberia, including Cepaim, Association of Men for Gender Equality (AHIGE), Social Foundation Initiative (FiS) The CONEXUS Association Psychosocial Care, Training and Research, Masculinidades Beta, Marie Langer, and Action against trafficking, the project aims to raise awareness, provide training, and promote intervention with men for gender justice through strategic approaches, including awareness-raising, training the public and professionals, and evaluating and sharing promising practices. 

The initiative was launched at an event in Madrid on 23 October 2023 (click here to watch the recording in Spanish) and presented in Barcelona on 2 February 2024. The project is scheduled to run from June 2023 to May 2024, both online and within various regions covered by MenEngage Iberia members in Spain. 

The initiative employs various strategies, such as creating a video documentary, organizing campaigns, cultural events, art exhibitions, and seminars. This effort will culminate in the forum titled “Masculinity, Co-responsibility, and Social Intervention” scheduled for May 10th, 2024 in Madrid. The forum aims to serve as a platform for sharing promising practices in this field.

Moreover, the project applies a training strategy that encompasses both online and face-to-face approaches. This includes workshops and courses targeting a wide audience, including men over the age of 16, professionals in social intervention, and agents of social transformation (such as workers’ unions, employers, collectives, etc.).

The initiative has established a Service for Information and Consultation on Men and Masculinities (SIAPIHM), facilitated by a diverse team of professionals and specialists. They provide consultations on equal relationships, parenthood, prevention of gender-based violence, and other equality strategies. 

“The ability to provide care is inherent to all human beings, but our cultural system enforces a gendered socialization that categorizes caregiving activities as ‘feminine’. In contrast, a significant part of male identity is constructed around the avoidance of caregiving responsibilities, with resulting effects not only on indicators of male co-responsibility but also on violence, risky behaviors, and premature mortality”

Masculinidades Corresponsable “Sensibilización” 

Co-Responsible Masculinities actively creates and fosters spaces for open discussions and inclusivity. In these spaces, the traditional notions of caregiving and the associated roles are reexamined from a more inclusive standpoint. The practical goal is to challenge and reshape societal perceptions around caregiving responsibilities, promoting an environment where diverse perspectives are acknowledged.

The overarching aim of this approach is to contribute to the fight against gender-based violence. By fostering discussions and inclusivity, the initiative seeks to dismantle outdated stereotypes and cultivate a culture that values and respects diverse contributions to caregiving, ultimately addressing the root causes of gender-based violence.

(…) a change is needed in the role that men occupy in the world, not just superficial changes but ones that truly address what society needs. It’s true that we would all benefit from a more equal society, but it’s also true that for this to happen, men must accept that they will lose privileges and will have to take on responsibilities that perhaps they didn’t see as their own until now, right?”

– Rebeca Martín, Spanish Ministry for Equality