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The MenEngage Gender Equality Issue

with reports from: Brazil, Congo, India, Kenya, Kosovo, Lebanon, Sweden, & Uganda


Young Men’s Journey to Gender Equality in Kosovo
by Maike Dafeld
Besnik Leka promotes gender equality with CARE International’s Young Men Initiative in Kosovo. In an interview with Maike Dafeld, editor of Balkan Perspectives, he reveals why gender equality is closely linked to dealing with the past, and shares his personal motivations for working for gender equality.

Changing Congo Men’s Attitudes on Gender Begins at Home
By Odette Asha with Inge Vreeke
“I couldn’t accept my share of his will if my sisters were to receive nothing,” confessed Bahati Leomard, a 23-year-old man living with his parents in Rusayo, near the town of Goma in the North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). He was talking about his father’s gender-based decision to apportion his inheritance.

Brazil’s Policies Harmful to Women’s Equality… and Bad for Men, Too
By Tatiana Moura and Victoria Page
Midway through writing this article, in Rio de Janeiro’s bohemian Lapa neighborhood, we heard it: the sounds of tear gas as riot police repressed mass protests against harsh austerity measures proposed by Brazil’s months-old conservative government.

Young Indian Men Waking Up to Gender Justice
By Danit Shaham, Anjana Goswami and Rucha Satoor
If you are lucky enough to have a genuine dialogue with a young boy, say the authors, you will notice that a young man is a gold mine of dreams, aspirations and wisdom. The Equal Community Foundation (ECF), based in the Indian city of Pune, has been that lucky—engaging with more than 4450 such young and bright minds for the past seven years. They found that working on gender equality issues with adolescent boys between 13 and 17 is both exciting and challenging.

Overturning Lebanon’s Outrageous Rape Law
By Sinéad Nolan
In Lebanon, rapists can avoid criminal prosecution provided they marry their victims. The law, originally introduced in the 1940s, was meant to salvage the “honor” of women who are raped. It was codified as part of the country’s penal code. In 2016, as part of the annual “16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence,” the Lebanese gender justice organization ABAAD launched a campaign to abolish the archaic law. ABAAD, which means “dimensions” in Arabic, promotes sustainable social and economic development through equality, protection and the empowerment of marginalized groups, especially women.

Chickens Coming Home to Roost for Equality
By Elias Muindi
Because of the number of men who have died from HIVAIDS and other illnesses, Kenya has a large population of widows. Although regarded as key members of Kenyan society, they face enormous challenges. Chief among their impediments is “widow inheritance,” a cultural practice followed by the Luo ethnic community of Nyanza and western Kenya.

Taking Art to New Delhi’s Streets to Champion Gender Justice
By Durba Ghose
A creative campaign in India uses a range of techniques— from street theater to workshops—to foster dialogue on gender justice. It has reached more than 6000 people of diverse ages and across three-dozen places in New Delhi. The Ab Baaki Charcha campaign (ABC)—which means “Now, the Remaining Dialogue”—is a project the Delhi-based organization Mittika spearheaded in collaboration with the Forum to Engage Men and Humsaa, Sadak Chaap, KlodB and Alternative Spaces Foundation.

Why Many Women Resist Their Male Partner’s Support at Home
By Lisa D’Annolfo Levey
In the Fall 2016 issue, we explored women’s resistance to their male partners, assuming greater responsibility at home in the articles “Men: Equal Partners in Care Work?” and “Will Women Resist More Caregiving by Men?

Uganda’s Coo Makwiri (“Role Model Men”)
A CARE Uganda Special Report
Ojok Mark, 31 years old, spent his early life in a displaced persons camp in the Gulu District of Uganda. With limited mobility and scant opportunity to work, he and other young men resorted to drinking.

Advancing Women’s Economic Empowerment
Transforming Gender Norms
By MenEngage Alliance

Nelson Mandela’s Evolving Masculinity
By Raymond Suttner
In these times of widespread violence perpetrated by men, we may learn from Nelson Mandela’s model of masculinity. The main biographies of Nelson Mandela do not consider him as a gendered subject. Yet Mandela’s evolving masculinity shows the type of man he represented.

Crying: A Man’s Most Courageous Act?
By Benjamin Perry
Crying is a courageous act. That might sound paradoxical, but juxtaposed against the expectation of male stoicism, tears are subversive and powerful. And, at long last, more and more men are casting aside toxic masculinity’s restrictive norms to live into healthier male identities.

Audio Stories Spark Shift in Men
By Usha Rai
Nitesh Verma, 33, a tailor in a village in Rajasthan’s Bundi district, is married and has a daughter, seven, and a son, two. Every morning when he woke up, his wife would be waiting with a steaming cup of hot tea for him, before busying herself with other household chores. He never offered any assistance. One night he heard “Dulhan ki batein,” an audio story on his mobile phone that talked about gender issues in a way that got him thinking.

Celebrating the Birth of a Girl
By Richa Singh
The birth of a son in Haryana, a state in northern India, is celebrated by beating a thali, a steel plate.


Columns & Opinion

From the Editor
Men’s Letter to the ‘So-Called’ President: Prove You Support Gender Equality
By Rob Okun
After the release of the 2005 Access Hollywood video caught him admitting to sexually assaulting women, many citizens couldn’t believe he could receive enough Electoral College votes to become president. I was one of them.


A Message from the MenEngage Global Secretariat
Joni van de Sand, Global Coordinator

Fall 2016: Men @ Work

Sweden’s Pioneering Fathers’ Groups
By Sinéad Nolan
Matts Berggren is a pioneer in Sweden’s fathers’ group movement, and a staff member at Men for Gender Equality Sweden. He recently talked about the history of the country’s fathering groups, their expansion around the globe, and the current challenges they face.

Spoken Word
To Be a Man
By Eric McGriff and Anthony McGriff