Involving men and boys in the push for gender equality and women’s empowerment has gained momentum in Australia and globally, as evidenced by recent high profile forums and campaigns such as the Australian Sex Discrimination Commissioner’s Male Champions of Change initiative; the 2014 MenEngage Global Symposium in Delhi, India; The International Conference on Masculinities: Engaging Men and Boys For Gender Equality in New York; the White Ribbon campaign; and the UN Women HeForShe campaign.
The increasing focus on engaging men and boys in gender equality and women’s rights as a strategy in the struggle for women’s empowerment, is largely framed by two arguments:
• that characterising ‘gender’ as solely female marginalises women; and
• that owing to existing patriarchal structures, men and boys are positioned as ‘gatekeepers’ of the prevailing social order, and therefore leaving them out of the movement is an ultimately ineffective strategy.
While these arguments may be valid and appear to be at the centre of the gathering global momentum around engaging men and boys in the struggle for gender equality, there seems to be a lack of critical analysis that discursively engages with the inertly patriarchal context in which the push for gender equality and women’s empowerment exists. As a result the struggle for gender equality and women’s empowerment has arguably become increasingly depoliticised, with current discourses failing to account for the ways in which engaging with men and boys manifests within already existing patriarchal power relations that continue to frame social discourse and action and oppress women’s voices.
The ‘Working with Men and Boys; A Critical Dialogue’ workshop was put together firstly, as a way of critically engaging with this global trend, and secondly, in response to growing concerns raised through the Australian civil society Beijing+20 review, regarding the constraints and challenges of working with men and boys in the push for gender equality and women’s empowerment.
The ‘Working Together for Equality: Beijing +20 Review Australia 2014’ study is part of the ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the commitments made by the Australian Government and Civl Society to the advancement of women through use of the agreed strategies from the Beijing Platform for Action (BPFA) (1995), and the Beijing +5 Outcomes Document (2000). The purpose of this study is to measure Australia’s progress against the BPFA 20 years since it was agreed in 1995.
The study highlights the top four concerns for women of Australia.
The findings from this study are freely available for civil society and government information and advocacy. In particular the study deadlines were in anticipation of sharing the information at the Asia Pacific Beijing + 20 Civil Society Forum (14-16 November, 2014) and the UN ESCAP High Level Government Forum (Asian and Pacific Conference on Gender Equality and women’s Empowerment : Beijing +20 Review) (17-20 November, 2014) and the 59th Session of the United Nations (UN) Commission on the Status of Women (9-20 March, 2015). Information from this study will also feed into the CSP Post 2015 Development Agenda discussions and contribute to background information for the Australian Government, ESCAP and UN Women.
Social media serves as a gateway to crucial information and communication processes when it comes to strengthening advocacy work around UNSCR 1325 advancement. However, much still needs to be investigated as to how existing social media structures can be harnessed for its major potential. Despite of existing barriers to access, women still push forth in including these newer technological developments in their work. This research project investigates the potential of using Social Media for peace building and advancing UNSCR 1325 at the local level.
The impetus for this Guide came from a sector wide desire for stronger engagement around CSW and its processes. It was made possible through the work and input of many individuals and organisations to which we are deeply grateful. JERA International has endeavoured to make this Guide ‘cover all bases’ as discussed during teleconferences, numerous phone calls, emails and discussions. Specific requests for information, strategies to engage with CSW and ways to work with groups attending CSW have been covered in this Guide.
Development of this Guide was community driven and is targeted to fit those thinking of engaging with CSW as well as those who attend on a regular basis. All information in this Guide is current at the time of writing (2014). As developments occur internationally and nationally, it is hoped this Guide can be added to and used as a living, ongoing document. We thank all the individuals and organisations who gave time in the development of this Guide and we are ever grateful for your input.
Annual Global Monitoring Study – Australia’s Implementation of UNSCR 1325 on Women Peace and Security – This study was undertaken as part of the International Civil society Action Network (ICAN), Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP) program to select and develop a set of global indicators to monitor the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 and UNSCR 1820 from an independent civil society perspective. This Australian study undertaken from August, 2013 to October, 2013 draws on indicators developed to enable ICAN-GNWP and civil society members to make meaningful comparisons across countries and come up with regional and global aggregates. In the Australian context, this study can be used by civil society advocates and government agencies as a tool for improvements in the area of delivery of the Australian National Action Plan on WPS.
Voices from the Flood Plains: an economic gender lens on Australia’s flood affected ares in Queensland and Victoria (2012)
As part of the Economic Justice Program of JERA International this study was commissioned by economic Security4Women to explore an emerging issue: the economic impact of women in natural disaster affected areas in Australia. This study explores and investigates common perceptions and understandings around the economic issues and challenges impacting women from areas of Queensland and Victoria who were affected through floods in early 2011.
In 2012 Justice Equality Rights Access International (JERA) led a study that investigated the economic issues and challenges that impacted women in disaster affected areas, in particular the flood affected areas in Queensland and Victoria. This study explores how disaster relief can be improved to address sustainable economic recovery in relation to rebuilding business and/or the resumption of income pathways for Australian women, but also determine the additional skills women have gained by participating in community rebuilding, and how these can be recognised to further empower women economically in the future. Click here for the full report
This study explores the economic empowerment of women in 6 conflict affected areas in the Asia Pacific Region and combines UNSCR 1325, CEDAW, BPFA and MDGs in its analysis.
Gender equality and women’s economic empowerment are essential to achieve effective and sustainable development; to foster vibrant economies and to promote peace and security. It is important to recognise the unique contributions women can make as countries emerge from economic crisis, especially in conflict and disaster affected societies.
The Working Together for Equality : Beijing + 15 Review forms part of the ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the commitments made by the Australian Government to the advancement of women through use of the agreed strategies from the Beijing Platform for Action (BPFA), and the BPFA + 5 Outcomes Document. The purpose of this review is to measure Australia’s progress against the BPFA 15 years since it was agreed in 1995. A broad and interactive community consultation formed the basis of this report, with analysis of data from these consultations highlighted in the key issues, gains, gaps and challenges for women in Australia in 2009-2010.
Each year, JERA International supports one or more young women to attend CSW in collaboration with regional partners such as Asia Pacific Women’s Watch and Isis International. The experience gained, along with the exposure and networking with the numerous organisations and individuals attending CSW and the learning through the multitude of side events and parallel events, provides breadth and depth to her knowledge and understanding of the topics and issues related to her studies and profession.