Gender with Men - Factsheet
When one hears the word gender, a common response is to think women. This is not only true across many societies but also in the field of international development cooperation. In a sense, men are the norm of social analysis and as such their gender is not often examined or well understood. As a result, men are not active in gender work, including projects, planning and policy. However, gender equality cannot be achieved solely through the promotion of women and girls, because such efforts have a limited effect on changing the social institutions and structures.
Recognizing and understanding men’s gender – their expected roles, relations and positions as men – can help engage them more naturally in efforts to achieve equality and reduce poverty. In most societies there are dominant definitions of masculinity that dictate the position of men vis-à-vis women and other men. On the other hand, men are very different from one another. Like women, the term men refers to a heterogeneous group comprised of individuals positioned within diverse and ever-changing contexts around the world that have different values, motivations and relations.