The White Ribbon campaign is a global movement of men and boys working to end male violence against women and girls. This year, we're joining the campaign to focus on the ways in which men and boys can be empowered and motivated to create a world of equality and safety for women. 

Engaging men and boys in positive conversations about healthy relationships, the impact of gender norms, and a compassionate vision of masculinity can be a great entry point, but those conversations can be difficult to approach, and it can be hard to know where to start. 

To help practitioners, friends and family to navigate this topic, we’ve collated resources that can help you explore the impact of gender norms, and focus on the ways in which gender equity benefits us all.

Toolkit: Engaging with Men and Boys about Gender Norms

This practical toolkit, created by researchers at Durham University, provides useful tips on starting conversations with men and boys about gender norms, including:

  • The role of gender norms contributing to harms experienced by everyone, from mental health issues for men, to violence against women and girls
  • The ways in which men can feel constrained or limited by gender norms
  • The ways in which many men and boys are already challenging gender norms

Blog: Promoting Healthier Masculinities in Primary & Secondary Schools

In this blog, Dr Michael Flood explores the impact of gender norms on our lives, exploring how we can nurture and promote healthy, positive masculinities based in equality, respect, compassion and partnership. Dr Flood recommends 3 key principles that should guide work with men and boys in this area:

  • A feminist approach designed to transform gender inequalities: these conversations should recognise the systemic gender inequalities that structure society and seek to transform those structures
  • A commitment to enhancing boys’ and men’s lives: boys will benefit in their own lives, and in their relations with others if they challenge rigid gender norms
  • The approach must be intersectional, acknowledging and responding to diversities and inequalities among men and boys

Professional resource: Just Like a Child: a Guide for Childcare Professionals

In this guide created by Zero Tolerance, authors devote a section to “Ideas for practice” (p13) which gives advice around challenging stereotypes with young children through language and communication, how you organise the spaces they spend time and how you can positively intervene in imaginative play.

Video: Why the phrase 'man up' is so destructive

In this video from the BBC, David Brockway talks about how his organisation, the Great Men Project (now Beyond Equality), delivers workshops on masculinity to young people in schools across London. They use word-association games to start conversations around harmful gender norms, and explore what “man up” really means to young people. 

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