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Informing a strategy to engage men and boys as partners in advancing gender equality: Closed consultation

Current status: closed

This consultation ran from July 9, 2018 to August 28, 2018

See the “What we heard” report for summaries of the discussions that took place.

Budget 2018 invested $1.8M over two years, starting in 2018-2019, to develop an engagement strategy for men and boys that promotes equality and pilots innovative, targeted approaches to address inequality.

During summer 2018, Women and Gender Equality Canada (formerly Status of Women Canada) held a series of eleven roundtable discussions across the country, bringing together over 200 stakeholders with various perspectives including: regional, expert and thematic (Indigenous people, LGBTQ2, racialized communities, youth and corporate) to discuss the benefits, potential challenges and role of the federal government in engaging men and boys in gender equality.

Who was the focus of this consultation

The Government of Canada engaged with representatives of community-based organizations working on a range of issues and programs related to men and boys’ engagement in gender equality, as well as community leaders and representatives of groups advocating for persons with disabilities, LGBTQ2 people, seniors, Indigenous peoples, racialized communities, student, and youth, faith based organizations, the private sector, labour organizations, academics and others.

Key questions for discussion

Enlisting men and boys as allies, partners and co-beneficiaries in gender equality is necessary to achieve real and lasting change and build on and complement the work being done by the women’s and LGBTQ2 movements for an inclusive country where everyone has an opportunity to thrive. The following questions supported discussions.

  1. What would be the core principles for engaging men and boys as partners in advancing gender equality?
    • Do the vision, objective and framework adequately reflect this? If not, how can they be strengthened?
  2. What are the barriers to increasing men’s and boys’ engagement in gender equality, and how do you address them?
    • How do you reach the unengaged and those who are publicly against gender equality?
    • What type of language do you use or avoid when discussing gender equality with men and boys?
  3. What are successful models or best practices to support engagement in advancing gender equality?
    • What role would you recommend for the federal government to promote engagement in advancing gender equality?

What we heard

Final report

Calling Men and Boys in: What we heard report from the roundtables on engaging men and boys to advance gender equality

Ideas shared

The roundtable discussions identified four thematic principles which will give guidance to the further development of a strategy to engage men and boys.

Persistent, ingrained, and systemic beliefs and attitudes are at the core of gender inequality. Much work remains to be done in addressing these beliefs as a key to positive behaviour change. In doing so, we need to ensure no one is left out in this process. By starting from a place of mutual respect, and recognizing men’s different realities, this work can invite men in to be part of the solution.

Modelling positive actions and behaviours is the key to moving forward. This means we must create spaces where men can talk to each other, where they can make mistakes, and where they too can heal from historical and systemic trauma and violence. This will require a long-term, multi-prong approach that balances support and accountability.

Many organizations and individuals heavily involved in this work communicated a sense of isolation and lack of connection. Accelerating and amplifying change could be achieved through greater collaboration, knowledge exchange and data collection. This was seen by participants as an area where the Government of Canada could play a valuable role.

No discussion of strategies to engage men and boys can take place outside the greater context of gender equality work with women and girls. An approach to engaging men and boys must not contribute to structural inequalities in funding for women and girls, and should acknowledge the leadership of the women’s and LGBTQ2 movements in guiding this approach.

Related information

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