In July 2020, the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) and MenEngage Alliance, a global network working to engage men and boys in women’s rights and gender justice, launched a joint programme called Confronting Militarised Masculinities: Mobilising Men for Feminist Peace.
With violence and war having a devastating effect on countries, communities and individuals across the globe, the programme sheds light on and challenges the gendered root causes of violence and armed conflict around the world. Through a body of cutting-edge research and analysis the programme advances global understanding of how the ‘war system’ is enmeshed with practices and representations of masculinity associated with power, violence and control, and spotlights the vital work of men working in solidarity with women activists and those beyond the gender binary to advance feminist peace.
With a focus on four countries Afghanistan, Cameroon, Colombia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the programme comprises four key elements: alliance building between women’s peace organisations and organisations working with men for gender equality; a growing body of research and analysis on the causes, manifestations, and responses to militarised masculinities; national, regional and global advocacy; and a set of communications tools a newly commissioned one-hour documentary called Power On Patrol, and an online photography exhibition– which explore notions of militarised masculinities and alternatives to them from around the world.
“The concept of militarised masculinities captures the “fusion of certain practices and images of maleness with the use of weapons, the exercise of violence, and the performance of an aggressive and frequently misogynist masculinity.”
– KIMBERLEY THEIDON
The body of original research conducted for the project was generated by academics and thought leaders from WILPF partner countries – Afghanistan, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Colombia, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe – and elsewhere around the world. Comprising nearly two dozen reports in all, a mix of literature reviews, case studies, and in-depth qualitative research with a range of constituencies in each country—the research explores the causes and impacts of militarised masculinities, and of strategies that can effectively mobilise men to take action for feminist peace.
Power On Patrol, the one-hour documentary, reveals the true human cost of militarised masculinities in these conflict societies and spotlights the men working with women activists to advance feminist peace through powerful personal testimony intertwined with leading expert voices in the field.
The Militarised Masculinities and Alternatives online photography exhibition is the result of WILPF’s inaugural competition which invited photographers from around the world to submit photographs that explored the relationship between masculinities, conflict and peace, violence and care.
Madeleine Rees, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom’s Secretary General, says, “The work being done by WILPF sections to mobilise men for feminist peace in Africa, Asia and Latin America is inspiring. The research, imagery, and films now collected on our website convey the creativity, courage, and determination that offers real hope for meaningful change. It deserves a wide audience”.
Click here to see the story on the WILPF website. It is republished here with permission from WILPF.
WILPF‘s mission is to end and prevent war, ensure that women are represented at all levels in the peace-building process, defend the human rights of women, and promote social, economic and political justice.
Image credit: Lance Robert Henderstein