Gender identities have transformed in the past decade. While they can be considered as socially constructed ideas of what it means to be male or female, there are numerous ways which we can identify our gender. Gender should be conceptualized beyond the binary (man, woman), and thought of more along a spectrum of gender identities (see Gender Galaxy below).
Gender stereotypes which should be challenged are toxic ideas of masculinity, including male dominance, entitlement over women and girls bodies, and remaining silent on violence against women and girls (in all its forms). Gender expectations and stereotypes are imposed on us from birth, and conform to rigid ideas of masculinity and femininity.
How has gender shaped my own personality and identity?
Are there elements of toxic masculinity which I display in my life? How can I be cognizant of this and change these beliefs and actions?
How do I define healthy masculinity and a positive sense of self?
How can I integrate feminism into my everyday life, and show my allyship more clearly together with women and girls?
Being a male ally is a long-term process and commitment to unlearning one’s power, privilege and entitlement. While all men don’t have the same access to resources and have differing levels of power and privilege, all men can be a part of the solution to respond effectively and prevent gender-based violence.
Reflecting on the above articles, what will you carry forward? Share your actions with us
Based on the experience of all project partners, and White Ribbon we have compiled all activities and tools utilized from coast to coast. To gain an overview of each initiative visit the case studies to learn more about the approach, program model, activities and key results arising. These program examples are embedded in specific local contexts, and even these are constantly evolving and shifting. It’s critical to consider your own local context, and remaining flexible in adapting some of the program examples.
While the field of male engagement has seen incredible growth in the past decade, it is still largely an experimental field. In order to refine tactics, tools and approaches to be most effective in promoting healthy masculinities over the long-term and sustaining behavioural change, strong evaluation is needed.
Evaluation is most important when clear links between interventions and desired outcomes are not known. In new and experimental areas where links have not been established Developmental Evaluation may be the most appropriate method to apply.
 Developmental evaluation is defined as follows: Developmental evaluation supports the process of innovation within an organization and in its activities. Initiatives that are innovative are often in a state of continuous development and adaptation, and they frequently unfold in a changing and unpredictable environment. This intentional effort to innovate is a kind of organizational exploration. The destination is often a notion rather than a crisp image, and the path forward may be unclear. Much is in flux: the framing of the issue can change, how the problem is conceptualized evolves and various approaches are likely to be tested. Adaptations are largely driven by new learning and by changes in participants, partners and context. (Jamie A.A. Gamble, A Developmental Evaluation Primer, p. 13)
Being able to clearly communicate core outcomes, for example, enhanced knowledge and understanding of positive roles men and boys can play, can foster accountability with women’s organizations and shelters, by clearly demonstrating your impact. Showing your commitment to assessing changes in men and boys is essential towards sound programmatic approaches and adding to the evidence-base.
Meaningful evaluation methodology, such as Sharing the Stories (Students Commission of Canada) can also be a forum to promote diverse youth voices and stories of change. Evaluation can be conceptualized as a transformative and engagement tool throughout the gender-based violence prevention initiative.
Thoughtful evaluation process can ensure programmatic content is resonating and being utilized by participants across the gender spectrum, whilst being open to adaptation and change. Integrating feedback from participants on an ongoing basis can ensure the program is an inspired one and is highly engaging with participants.
The cost/benefit of specific interventions used for engaging boys and men in GBV prevention are not widely established and therefore evaluation work will assist in building a case for prevention-focused interventions, which prove to be most effective over time.
Prevention work requires sustained and long-term approaches to ending all forms of violence against women and girls, men and boys, therefore strong and longitudinal evaluation efforts will assist in documenting the impact on reducing the prevalence of GBV
Social dynamics that perpetuate gender-based violence perpetrated by men and boys is not well documented. This means that evaluation work in this area may help to uncover behavioural trends and largely hidden power structures that if understood could lead to the development of more effective approaches to combat the underlying, pervasive gender norms and stereotypes that lead to gender-based violence.
Many assumptions about engaging men and boys can be verified or falsified through combining interventions with strong evaluation efforts. One assumption that one group made which was supported by the experience of some facilitators was that boys and men needed to be engaged in mixed-gender groups and not on their own, and that this would be most effective because men and boys would be held accountable to women and girls, could learn to appreciate their perspectives and hear their stories. A robust set of evaluation practices could be used to compare and evaluation the results of a group of men and boys who were engaged in a mixed gender group versus a group that is solely composed of male-identifying participants.
Indicators are used frequently throughout evaluation work in the GBV prevention work aimed at engaging men and boys. As stand-ins for more direct indicators, proxy indicators may turn out to be insufficient in substantiating intended outcomes. For example, a proxy indicator for the outcome of increased awareness of GBV might be the number of GBV related issues covered by the media over a period of time. In reality, an increase in awareness may not result from GBV issues being covered by the local media, say for example if the coverage of the GBV issue was slanted (i.e. supporting the dominant discourse) or if other media coverage based on gender norms/stereotypes was more frequent during the same time period. See the National Evaluation Framework for sample indicators and outcome areas which might apply to your male engagement program. Tweet at @Canada_NCoP to share how you’re using the framework.
The following publications have been recommended for specific program planning stages, from needs assessments to evaluation planning. Some of these resources have emerged from the CoP partners experience, and others identified by White Ribbon. Whichever stage you’re at within the gender-based violence prevention initiative, we’ve got you covered.