Involvement of men in women empowerment “A RESPONSIBLE MAN”
INVOLVEMENT OF MEN IN EMPOWERING WOMEN
THEME: “A RESPONSIBLE MAN”
Cultural practices, beliefs and norms in the African societies have created a social imbalance between the males and the females. The society itself created various expectations based on gender roles that has seen an imbalance and the suppression of the other group. Culture has failed to understand that gender issues are not static hence they are dynamic in as much as culture itself. Culturally as the African society we have managed to be dynamic by adopting other cultural traits from different societies that have seen us excelling, but failed to address gender issues due to hunger for power by both sexes.
This has resulted in a failure of striking a balance between the two genders that will satisfy everyone, hence creating a peaceful society. This in turn has created vicious cycles of problems within societies.
This has cultivated hatred, discrimination, rejection, indecency amongst human kind. Our cultural practices, beliefs and norms consequentially created an egoistic world, racial and gender based conflicts, antagonism and prejudices. In the long run this created a mal-functioning community. A community divided on power, wealth and struggles for world domination. In turn this created an imbalanced sharing of resources, world of the utmost rich and deadly poor, a world of the masculine and the feminine. Man came to rule the world on brilliance without wisdom. Man became the giants of suppression, repression, exploitation and destruction and infants of immorality.
Effective programs also recognize that gender roles and relations are dependent on social contexts on which culture, religious, economic, political and social circumstances are intertwined. They are based on the idea that gender relations are not static and can be changed.
Ideas about manhood are deeply ingrained. From an early age, boys may be socialized into gender roles designed to keep men in power and in control. Many grow up to believe that dominant behavior towards girls and women is part of being a man.
Risk taking and aggressive sexual behavior on the part of young men are often applauded by peers and condoned by the society. These stereotypes results in harm to both women and men, and erode possibilities of establishing satisfying, mutually respectful relationships. Ideally boys and young men can be encouraged to reflect upon and discuss issues surrounding masculinity, relationships and sexuality. This can contribute to the deconstruction of negative, high-risk and sometimes harmful attitudes.
Women cannot achieve gender equity, equality, sexual and reproductive health without the corporation and participation of men. For example it is men who usually decide on the number of sexual relationships, timing and frequency of sexual; activity and use of contraceptives, sometimes through coercion or violence.
Men as community, political or religious leaders always control access to reproductive health information and services, finances, transportation and other resources. Men in every aspect often wield enormous power over many issues of women’s lives.
Men’s involvement is key
Men ought to be involved if gender equality is to be achieved and reproductive health programs are to succeed. According to the world research, it clearly shows that some men want to be involved and that many welcome the idea of mutually satisfying relationships built on trust and communication. Males when approached properly and presented with relevant data, can become valuable allies in addressing the gender issues from maternal mortality to violence against women.
This program seeks to increase men’s sense of ownership over new initiatives that promote gender equity, equality and women empowerment. It aims to increase men’s comfort with seeing themselves as responsible, caring and non-violent partners of women. It also recognizes the diversity of men’s reproductive and sexual health needs, including those of young men and of those who are economically deprived or displaced.
The purpose of this Manual is to serve as a resource for those working with men and youth (boys) around issues of Citizenship, Rights, Gender, Health, Sexuality and Violence. While the contents are guided by a perspective of social justice and equity, there is an attempt to be ‘male centred’ in approach.
Common perspective building the writing group also began the process to articulate a common perspective that would serve as the guiding principles for deciding the contents and methodologies to be included in the Manual. Following are some of the statements as they emerged.
1. Belief in equality and dignity of all human beings and justice for all.
2. A value for diversity.
3. A realisation that gender is but one dimension of social inequalities. Other inequalities like class, caste, religion etc. are intertwined with gender disparities and also need to be addressed and incorporated in our analysis.
4. An understanding of gender that sees men and women as citizen – partners, not in opposition to each other, valuing the differences and complementary nature of men and women.
5. An understanding that recognizes patriarchy (a society, system or organization in which men have all or most of the power and influence) and not men, as the enemy.
6. A belief in a non-violent approach.
7. A preference for the ‘rights’ approach and not ‘welfare’ approach. A ‘rights’ approach in our understanding, emphasises that affected groups participate actively in finding solutions to their
problems. Also, that affected groups understand and exercise their rights. One concern that was repeatedly articulated in our discussions was how will this Manual be different from other manuals that address issues of ‘Gender’, ‘Sexuality’ and ‘Health’? We agreed that the Manual contents will be treated in a male-centred and male-sensitive approach rather than be gender-neutral. Men generally come with a lot of hostility and get very threatened during gender training, initially at least. The success of this Manual would be that participants would feel affirmed while realising the intricate ways in which patriarchy and gender work.
Activities These activities will be operated on packages based on selective groups to achieve the elements of love below and creating a love bond amongst the participants.
These can also be best represented in a cycle manner because love grows to infinity.
appreciation respect like trust friendship love
This is where everything begins; love and appreciation goes hand in hand, if it is true love you cannot lack in appreciation. Appreciation is a characteristic of love; the two have different bodies but are joined by the same head. He who pursues appreciation is generally compelled to get love as well. Appreciation is accepting someone regardless of his/her background, shortfalls, abilities, skin colour, tribe and ethnicity. It is also accepting the next person from the opposite group as an individual without undermining or despising him or her but celebrating them as they are. You cannot say you love that person without even appreciating him/ her, there is no one who is perfect thus people must get to know each other very well to such an extent that someone’s weaknesses will be covered by the other person’s strength. This is when you get to discover who really particular person is, his/ her strengths, and points of weaknesses.
Appreciation in this case is all about discovering the other group’s advantages and disadvantages and learning to tolerate them as they are as you journey in this boat of love. It is also a means of getting to a level of understanding them in such a way that you provide solutions or become a solution to their problems.
Love is very broad and we cannot achieve it without appreciating one another, therefore the first thing to do if you want to be involved in love is to appreciate other people, at least get to know them as they are, do not try to change them but accept and get along with them. Most people fail to get along or continue with one another in relationships because of missing the first element of appreciating one another, marriages drastically fall apart because most couples discover one another while it’s too late.
When you have the basic which is appreciation you can then find it easy to move to respect, which is allowing someone to feel the same as you would like to feel when being treated by other people. In this case of love respecting someone is one of the steps that are very essential as you would never become someone’s friend without even respecting him/her. It also involves submission of one person to another, this will ensure good listening skills and smooth flow of information is achieved in every system. Respect will help people to believe in equality and dignity of all human beings and justice for all irregardless of gender. A value for diversity is also compelled by respect and submission. If you value diversity you will get to understand that people are of different characters hence you will be able to get along with people of different characters and behaviours
If you respect and appreciate or be respected or appreciated by someone then you are most likely to like that person because you would have peace with that person and you respect each other very well. Liking each other will make you start hanging around together and share some small things. This is where you get to know someone and when you try to learn and understand their behaviours. This will eventually lead to an understanding of gender that sees men and women as citizen – partners, not in opposition to each other, valuing the differences and complementary nature of men and women. It will also bring people to an understanding that recognizes patriarchy (a society, system or organization in which men have all or most of the power and influence) and not men, as the enemy.
If you appreciate, respect and like a person you are bound to trust that particular person. If you trust each other, you won’t let each other down and you listen to each other’s’ advices. This is past the knowing stage where people would have tried to learn more about the other group. If a non-violent approach is applied it’s easier now to trust someone that you know, hence you will be having confidence over someone having known his or her capabilities irregardless of gender related roles that have been structured by certain practices.
Then friendship comes in because someone who is your friend is someone you trust first and hang around with in most cases. Friendship in this case is about sharing and taking care of each other. This is a stage of support and team work where two or more groups will be able to stand by each other irregardless of any situation that might be of disturbance. This means the sharing of responsibilities and burdens is achieved at all costs. This means all groups are now active and partaking in helping each other.
The most excellent way is all about sacrifice and putting others first before you. If people put others first before them then good life with peace will venture in human kind’s lives.