Since the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, there have been tremendous advances in the rights and well-being of women and girls. We are still far from achieving equality between women and men, but by many measures—including health, education, political participation, and income— we are closer to it than we were 20 years ago. As envisioned in the Beijing Platform for Action, one critical piece for advancing the gender equality agenda is engaging men and boys. Beyond just the nominal or symbolic involvement of men, the Beijing framework envisions male engagement as a necessary means to challenge the structures, beliefs, practices, and institutions that sustain men’s aggregate privileges, as well as to address inequalities between women and men.
In this discussion paper, we seek to start a dialogue about moving forward with efforts that actively engage men and boys in challenging power dynamics in their own lives as well as in their communities and societies.