#HowToTalkWithMen: A campaign about how gender-transformative change among men and boys happens

MenEngage Alliance has launched a new campaign inviting people to share insights and experiences of talking with men and boys about issues related to gender justice. The #HowToTalkWithMen campaign calls for tips, stories, and reflections of what approaches and messages are effective in opening up transformative discussions on gender equality, women’s rights, LGBTQI rights, masculinities, patriarchy, privilege, and addressing the roots of gender-based violence, among other topics.

The #HowHowTalkWithMen campaign will run from November 17-24 2023. It aims to draw upon the broad and diverse pool of knowledge and experience of those  working with men and boys around the world for gender justice and to to transform patriarchal masculinities.

The campaign aims to provide a platform to elevate and exchange ideas and lessons learned in ‘calling men and boys in’ to  journeys of reflection, change, commitment, and lifelong actions. Collectively, these transformative journeys have the potential to disrupt the foundations of gender inequalities—and to contribute to and complement broader social and structural transformation happening at different levels.

The timing of the #HowToTalkWithMen campaign falls in the run up to 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence, which is a key period of campaigning for women’s rights organizations around the world. By creating a platform to pool knowledge in the run-up to 16 Days of Activism, it is hoped that the #HowToTalkWithMen campaign will support those who are mobilizing men as allies and agents of change before, during, and after this period of action to end gender based violence.

The campaign will ask how to ensure that these kinds of conversations with men and boys do not take place in isolation, but include the voices and experiences of women, girls and gender-non conforming people—and remain accountable to them. 

Whether it is through workshops with men and boys, campaigns to shift norms around masculinities, or working with men in power, #HowToTalkWithMen invites stories of what messages, methods, and approaches sparked journeys of transformation.

Why a campaign on how to talk with men?

The #HowToTalkWithMen campaign comes at a time in which many boys and men are being exposed to harmful messaging around masculinities online, and disinformation around feminism and gender equality. Online influencers who appeal to stereotypical notions of masculinities based on aggression, dominance, violence, and controlling behavior are finding mass appeal—particularly among young men. Such trends have real-world consequences for women and gender queer communities, as well as men and boys themselves. 

This is taking place against a backdrop of a global backlash against progress made for women’s rights, LGBTQI rights, and gender justice. In fact, some studies show that men and boys are feeling threatened by progress for women’s rights—despite the fact that gender equality has not been achieved in any country globally.

In the context of these trends, bringing men and boys in on the work for gender justice can be challenging, and is often met with resistance. Yet, people working with men and boys on these issues know that using the right tools and approaches can lead to authentic reflection, introspection, and positive change, and commitment to gender justice among men and boys, and sustain such transformative processes. #HowToTalkWithMen is a campaign that aims to share the insights and stories of how this happens.

As stated in the MenEngage Alliance Core Principles, we believe all men and boys, in all their diversities, can critically understand, reject and overcome dominant, controlling, restrictive, and harmful definitions of manhood. There may be as many ways of doing this as there are men in the world. Yet, there are common tips, strategies, and insights into what can work. This campaign invites you to share, to pool knowledge, and elevate action on #HowToTalkWithMen towards gender justice.

How to get involved in the campaign

Share a story or insight on social media with the hashtag #HowToTalkWithMen

Can you think of a time where you witnessed moments or processes of gender-transformative change among men or boys? Or do you have general advice from your experiences facilitating these kinds of conversations? Whether you are doing this work in an organized way, or through day-to-day conversations with your peers and communities, please share your insights on social media with the #HowToTalkWithMen hashtag for MenEngage Alliance to repost on our Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn pages. If you have a story that you want to share directly with MenEngage Alliance, please use this form in English, Spanish, or French.

Give a shout out to a resource, campaign, or organization having an impact in this area with the hashtag #HowToTalkWithMen

Do you know about a resource that can help others doing the work to call men in and lead to commitment to support gender justice? Perhaps it is a toolkit, curriculum, guide, a video, podcast, campaign, example messaging, or any other material that offers strong insights on what messaging and approaches are effective. Or perhaps you want to give a shout out to an organization that is doing this work in an impactful way while remaining accountable to women, girls and gender nonconforming people? If so, tell us about it with the #HowToTalkWithMen hashtag. MenEngage Alliance will re-share relevant posts and, in the future, add the most relevant materials to our online resource hub.

Amplify the #HowToTalkWithMen campaign

Follow the campaign on the global MenEngage Alliance X (formerly Twitter), Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn pages. Let’s share and amplify each others’ insights into holding gender-transformative spaces with men and boys from 17-24 November 2023.

17 November 2023