Engaging Men in Building Gender Equality

Edited by Michael Flood with Richard Howson
Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2015
315 pages, £52.99

Engaging Men in Building Gender Equality collects a variety of global perspectives on initiatives to engage men and boys in gender justice, with a particular interest in programming and policy around the world. It addresses wide-ranging but interrelated concerns, such as violence, reproductive health, education, and parenting, narrowing in on more specific topics within each section, ranging from Maria Pallota-Chiarolli’s essay on male bisexuality to Abu Sufian’s piece on implementing violence-prevention education for men and boys in Bangladesh, and more. Its contributors include academics, activists, and organizers.

In the opening chapter on the role of men in both achieving and impeding gender equality, editor Michael Flood, an internationally respected Australian sociologist-activist, and an occasional contributor to Voice Male, writes, “While some forms of gender inequality have lessened, others have worsened under the influence of transnational neoliberal forces, aggressively patriarchal religious movements, and other dynamics.” Accordingly, the book can be seen as a toolkit for individuals and organizations working to undermine these negative influences around the world. It’s broken into six parts based on different concerns: “Engaging Men in Building Gender Equality,” “Engaging Men in Ending Men’s Violence Against Women,” “Health,” “Work and Workplaces,” “Fathers and Fathering,” and “Boys and Childcare.” Of particular value are the global perspectives the book offers. Engaging Men in Building Gender Equality should be of particular interest to anyone actively involved in gender justice work, efforts transforming masculinities, and to organizations seeking out new ideas in the ever-expanding movement for gender justice.

Gender, Sex, and Politics: In the Streets and Between the Sheets in the 21st Century

Edited by Shira Tarrant
Routledge, 2015,
346 pages, $45.95

This collection of essays is split into five parts, each covering the relation between sex or gender and decidedly contemporary themes: “Gender, Sexuality, and Social Control,” “Pornography,” “Sex and Social Media,” “Dating, Desire, and the Politics of Hooking Up,” “Issues in Sexual Pleasure and Safety.” The contributors include professors, activists and organizers, and freelance writers. As the book’s editor, Prof. Shira Tarrant, a member of Voice Male’s national advisory board, comes at the different topics from the perspective of an academic, but the book is meant for people working in all fields. “Among many of my activists-educator friends and colleagues,” Tarrant writes in the introduction, “female ejaculation and pornography is dinnertime conversation. But it’s easy to forget that talking about these topics is not routine.” For this reason, the different contributions are meant as entryways to their respective topics.

Gender, Sex, and Politics brings together differing and often contrary viewpoints, but the intention is to promote constructive dialogue, not to elevate certain viewpoints above others. While topics such as pornography have been exhaustively examined by feminists, Tarrant is always careful to include fresh perspectives, both for and against. Other topics are more clearly being addressed for the new millennium. Essays by Soraya Chemaly and Alexandra Tweten on the Internet as a tool for sexual control are presented alongside the writing of Jamie J. Hagen on how the Internet brings together marginalized communities in new and empowering ways. Gender, Sex, and Politics is ideal for anyone who wants to tune out the moral panic and polemics of the mainstream news in favor of informed perspectives on controversial topics.

Exploring Masculinities: Identity, Inequality, Continuity, and Change

Edited by C.J. Pascoe & Tristan Bridges
Oxford University Press, 2016
448 pages, $49.95

This new anthology explores the emerging academic field of masculinities studies with the goal of going beyond “hegemonic masculinities.” Meant primarily for students and scholars, but of interest to anyone working in gender-related fields, its contributors include a number of well-known academics. It’s an excellent primer for those looking to understand how masculinities studies fits in with current trends in women’s and gender studies and related fields.

Exploring Masculinities is divided into four parts. The first part, “Historicizing Masculinities,” addresses the historical question of how different ideas of masculinity come and go, with attention to (debunking) so-called “crises of masculinity.” The second part, “Multiplying Masculinities,” is largely grounded in the work of masculinities studies pioneer Raewyn Connell, who contributes an excerpt from her 2005 book, Masculinities.

The third part, “Navigating Masculinities,” moves beyond work that has been consciously described by its authors as “masculinities studies,” to look at various marginalized masculine identities, such as Latino boys and gay men. The fourth and final part, “Dislocating Masculinities,” follows a similar trajectory, moving beyond the social sciences and avowed masculinities studies to gather pieces that theorize how various ideologies uphold certain power relations and ideas of masculinity.

—Damon Hastings

Men and Boys in Social Change and Gender Equality

Designed to help answer the question, “What works best when it comes to engaging men and boys for gender equality?,” a valuable new evidence review called Engendering Men: A Collaborative Review of Evidence on Men and Boys in Social Change and Gender Equality assesses trends and shifts in related social norms and structures over the past 20 years; successful policies and programs and implications for best practices; and future directions for promoting men’s and boys’ support for gender equality. The review was edited by Jerker Edström, Alexa Hassink, Thea Shahrokh, and Erin Stern.

The goal is to move beyond a narrow individualistic programmatic focus and achieve a broader, more comprehensive understanding of the interplay between laws, policies and institutional practices in achieving gender equality and the most effective pathways for sustainable change that take into account individual, community and structural factors.

The evidence review aims to cultivate stronger leadership for working with boys and men to promote gender equality, by gathering, interrelating, analyzing and strategically disseminating evidence and lessons in targeted and accessible formats for improved learning, policy and practice.

The chapters cover the following themes:
  • Introduction: Framing the evidence and shifting >social norms Poverty, work and employment
  • Fatherhood, unpaid care and the care economy
  • Education
  • Sexual health and rights
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Sexual and gender-based violence
  • Conflict, security and peacebuilding
  • Public and political participation

Engendering Men is part of a twoyear project undertaken by the Institute of Development Studies and the MenEngage Alliance co-chairs Promundo-US and Sonke Gender Justice, with funding from the UK Department for International Development (DFID). The report can be accessed on IDS’s new Engendering Men: Evidence on Routes to Gender Equality’ (EMERGE) library: http://menandboys.ids.ac.uk/emerge.

Also featured on the EMERGE website is a four-page preview of the evidence report: http://menandboys.ids.