2023 is set to be another important year for collaboration, mobilization, advocacy and action for gender justice. In the context of continuing threats to women’s rights, LGBTQI rights, and human rights, we continue to push for—and stand in solidarity with—progressive feminist agendas. We look to collectively build on our commitments to continue generating, sharing, and applying practice-based knowledge, together with research-based evidence, on addressing the urgent challenges we face today.
There are around 1,100 members of MenEngage Alliance in 80 countries around the world working to address these urgent challenges. The last couple of years have seen reenergized momentum among our members and partners to transform patriarchal masculinities and work with men and boys, along with women, girls and gender non-confirming individuals, for gender, social, and climate justice. In 2023, we aim to continue building the energy and excitement as allies and activists for transformative change.
We outline below some of the key activities taking place across MenEngage Alliance that will further strengthen this work in 2023. To stay up to date throughout the year, subscribe to the global MenEngage Alliance newsletter.
1. Linking from local to regional to global
As an international social justice network, we believe the best way to do our work is by connecting and learning from each other, across contexts, cultures, and languages. We aspire to create more inclusive and bold spaces where activists, researchers, practitioners, policy makers meet, share information and promising practices, learn from and empower each other, and embark on partnerships for joint programming, research, activism and advocacy. Thereby, continuing to play a pivotal role in agenda-setting on ‘men and masculinities’ agenda – within the intersectional-feminist systems transformation agenda.
2023 already has a host of upcoming events lined up, including many that are organized by the regional networks of MenEngage Alliance:
- Launch of the Sexual & Reproductive Health & Rights Strategic Plan of MenEngage Africa (24th January)
- 3rd MenEngage Africa Symposium (date to be decided)
- In-person Members’ Meeting (expected in the first half of 2023)
- Members’ Meeting (online), 6th February
- Monthly members’ community check-ins (online)
- Workshop on Power, Privilege, and Rank, 23rd January
- Regular webinars on key issues around men and masculinities in Europe
- A calendar of 2023 events will be published by MenEngage Europe in spring
- Regional Steering Committee in-person meeting (date to be decided)
- Bi-monthly member meetups on various topics
- Member’s Assembly (online), with the theme of ‘What does it mean to be a member of MenEngage Alliance South Asia?’ – 30th January
- The final two sessions of the Youth Peer-learning series
In addition, the Global Secretariat is planning events throughout the year, including:
- Global Members’ Townhall to share collective plans for 2023 (16th February)
- Ubuntu+2 Anniversary (mid-2023)
- Virtual Members’ Assembly (mid-2023)
- Cross-regional network sessions (quarterly)
And see below for even more opportunities to connect with others transforming patriarchal masculinities and working with men and boys for gender justice in 2023.
2. Launching a new platform for collaborative learning
The MenEngage Learning Collaborative, known as the CoLab, will be launched in 2023 as a new initiative and platform for shared learning and exchange across MenEngage Alliance. It will focus on collective learning to improve programming and practice on men and masculinities. Importantly, the CoLab will be a space for community building: a space to speak about emerging issues; space for critical conversations and member-hosted events, trainings, webinars and more; and a space that encourages and fosters collaboration and creates joint mobilization opportunities.
The MenEngage CoLab will consist of regular member-led online sessions (see next point), an online resource and learning area, and other activities aimed at strengthening capacities.
3. A new monthly space where you set the agenda
As part of the CoLab mentioned above, we are initiating a new, regular monthly online space where members set the agenda and lead the discussion on transforming patriarchal masculinities and working with men and boys for gender justice. This will be shaped as peer-to-peer learning space to support and facilitate members and partners from across the national and regional networks to come together to exchange knowledge, lessons learned, promising practices and engage in collective strategizing and actions.
These member-led sessions are opportunities for members of MenEngage Alliance to share about the impact of their work and lessons learned with peers, members, partners and allies. Non-member organizations will be able to partner with a member on a session, building on wisdom and partnerships across social justice movements.
We will share more information soon on how to submit your idea for a topic to address in this space.
4. Youth leadership and engagement
2023 is set to be an exciting year for the agenda of “youth leadership and engagement” for MenEngage Alliance. Towards the end of 2022, the Youth Reference Group came together to develop its robust and ambitious work plan. The Youth Reference Group aims to continue rolling out its plan and the Youth Strategy in 2023, in collaboration with the regional networks of MenEngage Alliance as well as broader youth movements. Some of the activities to look out for include:
- Support in strengthening and setting up youth governance structures for national-regional-global levels
- Strengthening youth-led advocacy and allyship
- Organise cross-learning sessions with other youth led movements and organizations to learn and unpack good practises for meaningful youth participation and engagement
- Identify new Global Board member representing Youth Constituency
- Conduct inter-generational capacity strengthening sessions with the YRG and broader youth network of the Alliance
We are pleased to share that Nyasha Sithole (she/her) joined the Global Secretariat of MenEngage Alliance in November 2022 as a Program Officer. Nyasha is now coordinating the implementation of our Youth leadership and engagement strategy. She is also the coordinator of the Youth Reference Group, which led the development of the strategy.
To see a number of youth-led discussions that took place last year, watch the MenEngage Alliance South Asia Peer-Learning series, ‘Championing Change Through Advocacy’ on YouTube.
5. The Ubuntu Declaration, two years on
The 3rd MenEngage Global Symposium—the Ubuntu Symposium—involved hundreds of hours of dialogue with activists, practitioners, researchers, leaders and policy makers from all around the world. The event resulted in the development of the Ubuntu Declaration and Call to Action. Mid-2023 will be two years since its launch. It continues to be an important call for centering feminist systems change, accountability, decolonisation, youth leadership, and intersectionality in work to transform masculinities and engage men and boys in gender equality, climate and social justice.
We look forward to coming together globally in 2023 to mark the second anniversary of its launch and to learn, share, exchange and reflect on how the calls to action within the Ubuntu Declaration are being put into practice.
6. Decolonization and anti-racism
Gender relations and hierarchies have long been shaped by histories of colonialism. Understanding and challenging this takes ongoing collective work. We are set to advance this work in 2023 by continuing to create spaces in which we are challenged, work through discomfort, and learn from each other and the thinking and activism that has come before us.
We understand that this needs to take place at multiple levels, which is why spaces to address diversity, inclusion, anti-racism, and decolonization are being organized at the global level, board level, and organized by relevant regional networks of MenEngage Alliance.
7. Raising our political voice
Our advocacy efforts are led by the Advocacy Working Groups at global level, and by several regional MenEngage advocacy working groups. Made up of members from around the world, the groups meet regularly to shape our political agenda and direct our collective advocacy mobilization. In 2023, the group will continue leading our joint accountable advocacy agenda among members and strategic partners at country, regional and global levels.
We remain committed to taking a vocal and visible stance to challenge patriarchal masculinities and advocate for gender, social and climate justice in solidarity with LGBTQI, indigenous, and intersectional feminist movements.
In 2023 we will continue to advocate in key policy spaces, including but not limited to:
- The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW67)
- International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD)
- The Human Rights Council (HRC) and OHCHR Special Procedures
- The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and with the UN Secretary General
- Generation Equality Forum (GEF)
In addition, the Advocacy Working Group will continue to collaborate to develop joint policy briefs addressing men and masculinities in relation to key policies and frameworks.
8. Strengthening Accountable practices
In 2022, three key documents were updated that are relevant for all members of MenEngage Alliance
Together these documents form the Accountability Framework of MenEngage Alliance. In 2023, we will continue to embed these documents across our efforts as well as within our organising. This includes creating spaces for discussion and reflection on the values and commitments outlined in the documents. A campaign and handbook will be launched soon, offering a new resource for discussion, reflection, and engagement around these important topics.
The MenEngage Alliance Sexual Harassment Policy, together with our reporting mechanism for raising concerns, is another key tool for holding ourselves to the values and practices we wish to see in the world. Launched in 2021, it continues to be a key pillar for our collective and individual accountability, and another area of focus for 2023.
9. Addressing backlash
2022 was yet another year in which backlash against equality and rights went hand-in-hand with ideologies of patriarchal power. Negative and harmful ideologies around gender—including masculinity—continue to underpin the agendas of anti-rights, anti-feminist, and anti-LGBTIQ actors, eroding the hard-won rights of feminist and LGBTQI movements.
At a time of environmental and climate crises globally, ideas that associate masculinity with dominance, consumption, violence and competition continue to block and undermine efforts for a future based on care and cooperation for people and the planet.
With many of our members already working to address backlash, this year we will look to strengthen strategic partnerships, allyship and collaborations to address and counter its influence. This includes participating in cross-movement coalitions, actions, and solidarity-based campaigns to counter backlash.
10. Deepening our Inner Work for Social Change
In recent years, we have come to recognize that transformation must begin with ourselves. This is captured in the Ubuntu Declaration and Call to Action with a commitment to ‘an ongoing reflective practice for transformative awareness of self and others, as well as of the systems from which complex social problems arise’.
We look to continue honoring this commitment in 2023. With the guidance and leadership of the MenEngage Inner Work for Social Change Solidarity Circle, we will continue to create spaces for doing the hard work of challenging ourselves to look deep within, and embody the transformation we wish to see in the world.
11. Strengthening partnerships across movements
Significant social change to address entrenched inequalities depends on progressive organizations coming together across movements. In the context of the intensified patriarchal backlash and renewed gender conservatism, the need for cross-movement collaboration and action for gender justice, among progressive voices and civil society actors, has never been greater.
As an international social justice network, in 2023 we look to prioritize the strengthening of our links with gender justice, feminist, youth, climate, and LGBTIQ movements.
As ever, MenEngage Alliance is able to provide a critical ‘men and masculinities lens’ to all kinds of social justice issues. From gender-based violence to militarism, from LGBTQI rights, to bodily autonomy and comprehensive sexuality education, from climate justice to economic justice.
In particular, our global-level Learning Circle on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression, and Sex Characteristics (SOGIESC) will continue to advance LGBTQI rights in the work to transform patriarchal masculinities and work with men and boys for gender justice. Meanwhile, the Climate Justice Working Group will continue elevating the links between patriarchal masculinities and climate and environmental degradation. Across all our working groups, from youth to advocacy, building and reinforcing cross-movement links is a clear priority for the year ahead.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to us should you have any questions or ideas to share for the year’s priorities, or need more details on any of these plans – you can contact us via the Contact Page or email firstname.lastname@example.org.