“The Other Side of Gender: Men as Critical Agents of Change” recommends approaches and programming

The special report “The Other Side of Gender: Men as Critical Agents of Change”, co-produced by Promundo-US, has been published by the United States Institute of Peace (USIP). The document reviews existing work with men in post-conflict settings and recommends future approaches and programming. It is available for download on the USIP website.

This paper discusses many of the issues Promundo is addressing in the Living Peace campaign (http://menbeyondwar.org/): a new international campaign that combines research, programming and policy advocacy to engage men in conflict and post-conflict settings as agents of change and allies in achieving lasting peace and full equality for women and girls.   According to this report, programs and interventions in post-conflict settings need to understand that men are more than just primary perpetrators of violence. They are also witnesses and victims of many forms of violence, including sexual and gender-based violence. The authors argue that expanding this perception may help stop the continuous cycle of violent behavior in these countries.   Policies also must recognize that during wartime and conflict, the roles of men and women undergo radical change. Men and boys often experience a loss of identity leading to extreme emotional stress and substance abuse. Nonetheless, the document recommends more research on how men shape and are shaped by conflict, as well as men’s gender-specific needs, perspectives, and realities.   For the future, the report supports programs and interventions that focus on providing psychosocial support and developing healthier, nonviolent behaviors and identities. Absent such programs, post-conflict societies will perpetuate gender inequalities and sexual and gender-based violence.

It was released during the 2013 Men Peace and Security Symposium, which took place in Washington D.C. The event explored how ascribed norms of men and masculine identities contribute to, and may even help mitigate, violent conflict and post-conflict. It was co-hosted by USIP, Promundo-US, Sonke Gender Justice, The World Bank, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), and Women in International Security (WIIS).

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