UN: Experts call for engaging men, boys as partners for gender equality

New York, US (PANA) - A panel of experts said gender equality is not just a concern for women and girls, stressing the need to engage men and boys as allies and agents of change in this global struggle.

PANA in New York reports that the experts made the call at a panel discussion at the ongoing UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).

Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), who chaired the event, said: "Gender equality isn’t just a women’s issue. It is an issue for all. It is a rights issue because women’s rights are human rights."

She said: "Working with men and boys, transforming masculinity and traditional perceptions of manhood must be part of the gender equality agenda."

Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka highlighted a new campaign launched by UN Women last week on the occasion of the International Women’s Day called "HeforShe", in which men all over the world are being encouraged to speak out against the inequalities faced by women and girls.

Speaking directly to men and boys during the panel discussions, she called on them to take a stand, to speak out and take action for their sisters, mothers, daughters and partners.

Speakers at the event noted that persistent gender inequalities and discrimination of women and girls were a major obstacle to sustainable development, including poverty eradication and economic growth.

One of them, Mr. Bafana Khumalo, of the South Africa-based gender equality organisation, Sonke Gender Justice, highlighted the engagement of men and boys as a means to try to limit the spread of HIV and promote women’s empowerment.

He said Sonke’s flagship campaign, known as "One Man Can", which has proven to be an effective way to change the HIV and gender-related behaviours and attitudes of men and women.

He also said it had contributed to the decrease in the use of violence by men against women, reduced the number of sexual partners, and increases their use of condoms, testing and services.

The event, organised by Switzerland and Brazil, focused particularly on engaging men and boys to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which call for the reduction of extreme poverty and other global ills by 2015.

The MDG 3 is specifically targeted to gender equality and the empowerment of women.
-0- PANA AA/VAO 12March2014

13 march 2014 16:29:31

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