Gender Action Mainstreaming for Empowerment to Change

working with meN

Women's Rights | Women's empowerment | Working with men | Participation | Wealth Creation | Sustainability |
Rocky Road Framework and Tools| GALS Processes | Diamond Forest | FALS |
Livelihoods | Business | Markets | Value chains | Financial Services | Policy |
Advocacy | Research |

The goal of GAMEchange is not only women's empowerment, but gender justice - where women and men are both able to realise their full potential as economic, social and political actors, free from all gender discrimination, for empowerment of themselves, their families, their communities and global humankind.

Although this includes affirmative action for women, it also includes support for men to change those aspects of their behaviour, roles and privileges that currently discriminate against women.

GAMEchange processes are therefore distinctive in that they work with men as well as women - bringing men into a process of change which enables them to move towards visions of greater happiness and harmony with their family and greater human fulfilment.

Masculinity and Men's Studies

Men's studies, sometimes called masculinity studies, is an interdisciplinary academic field devoted to topics concerning men, masculinity, gender, and politics. Men's studies started in the 1970s largely in response to, and as a critique of, an emerging men's rights movement — itself a response to privileges brought to women by feminist political action.

In many universities, men's studies is a correlation to women's studies or part of a larger gender studies program, and as such its faculty tends to be sympathetic to or engaged in feminist politics. They cover the social, historical, and cultural constructions of men and virility. They often discuss the issues surrounding male privilege, seen as evolving into more subtle forms rather than disappearing in the modern era.

Many men have now joined organisations to combat male violence against women. There is also increasing awareness of the extent of gender-based violence against men.

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men's testimonies from the GAMEchange processes

Experience of those implementing the GALS methodology has found that many men are not happy with their situations - the 'wrangles' with their wives, emotional distance from their children, the burden of power and responsibility and the cycles of alcoholism, promiscuity and violence.

Men are spontaneously forming men’s groups and presenting their
experience in church to other men and women and to their friends.

These changes in men mean that women can focus on their own empowerment as valued members of the family, rather than battling against men. They also have more time and freedom to support other women in the process of change.

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getting a balance

Working to eliminate gender discrimination will inevitably need to involve men in the process of change. Many men enjoy privileges because of their gender, and may be unwilling to easily give these up. However many men are also caught in unhappy vicious circles of alcoholism, violence and abuse - often being abused themselves particularly by other men. Many men would like to change their lives and patterns of behaviour if given the chance, in order to have better and more fulfilling relationships with women and their children.

It is however important in the current situation to maintain a focus on those dimensions of gender inequality which particularly disadvantage women and also children, as global statistics on all dimensions of wellbeing and human rights indicate that women remain the most disadvantaged. And to seek to engage men in combatting these issues as part of their commitment to a broader promotion of social justice as part of a wider social justice movement against other dimensions of inequality in relation to class, race, sexual orientation and other dimensions of disadvantage.

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