Gender Equality – The Role of Men | – Opinion
By: Shayani Sarkar | Guest Writer |

Female enrollment is incomplete without involving boys and men in confronting names and attitudes that perpetuate inequality.  The talk about gender inequality is incomplete without the role of men. The reason is simple – the existing pattern of gender inequality requires some practices done by men unconsciously. The practices include predominant control of economic assets by men, careers such as armed forces which are dominated by men. The practice of gender inequality is embedded in a system of relationship which is felt in every level of human experience from individual experience to economic organization and culture. Further the system of gender inequality is embedded in institutions starting from home, school, workplace and religious and legal arrangements. In our system in India masculinity is considered with outside work and femininity is associated with child care and domestic work.

Throughout the world the area of education has started the debate the involvement of men in gender equality. Debates has started about the idea of new fatherhood and the involvement of the men in family. There has been deconstruction about the idea of masculinity, the image of men.

There has been considerable debate in certain conditions which has changed the definitions of masculinity.

In Chile there is no single definition of masculinity. There are many men who differ from the traditional definition of masculinity.

In Shanghai the concept of gender equality is in the culture. Men are willingly involved in domestic roles.

The results of USAID funded project in Ethiopia says that boys became more aware to the obstacles that girls face while pursuing their education. As a result boys started to help their female classmates with their homework and girls were no longer judged inadequate

Further men who are educated about gender equality can take the responsibility of teaching other men about the importance of gender equality. One example where this has been prominent is in the US. In US the National Organization of men against sexism has existed for more than 20 years. Campaigns in support of gender equality has also been supported widely in Mexico, South Africa.

  In India men against rape and discrimination (MARD) can take the responsibility of conducting workshops on gender equality.  India has taken a responsible step by preparing the resource material which was prepared by the health ministry which teaches men about consent and respect. It teaches the fact that it is okay for boys to cry and when a girl says no it means no. This resource material is going to be circulated to states as part of peer education plan. In India equal community foundation has started action for equality program which engages young men between the age of 13 to 17 to prevent violence and discrimination against women. As a part of the program the first task of the boys was to list women daily chores. That was when the young boys started to gain knowledge about the amount of work women do in a say. They were also made aware about the consequences of eve teasing on women including the fact that many women drop out of schools. The program has led to many boys volunteering for the cause of gender equality. The program has led to many boys performing street plays on subjects such as dowry, domestic violence, and women rights to raise awareness. Women who come to watch the play discuss this issues with their husband and sons .The program targets boys at the age group of 12 -17 so that boys develop gender equitable and non violent attitudes and behavior . The program is led by male peer groups, male leaders and parents.

India can only achieve gender equality by reinforcing the division of labor where men decrease the number of hours in office and increase their time to domestic commitments in family. This can also be implemented if policy makers make policy which make overtime work more expensive or which links promotion to increasing domestic commitments. If men are taught about gender equality then it will have a significant impact on how they treat their partners, wife, mothers, daughters, aunts, classmates etc. If men start the process of change from the family then it will have a significant impact on the society as it is said change begins at home.

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