Working with Men and Boys on Gender Equality
An event funded by the European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe and the Guides and Scouts of Finland aimed at promoting boys and men’s engagement as champions of a world that works for girls, boys, women and men, in youth organisations
The Europe Region WAGGGS has championed a gender aware approach in the new Membership Development Strategy and at World level. The Europe Membership Development Strategy, approved at the 14th European Guide Conference by Member Organisations (MOs), identifies Gender as one of the four thematic strategies, priority areas for the Europe Region. The Europe Region WAGGGS started working on this thematic strategy with a project to explore how to most effectively work with boys and men in achieving WAGGGS Vision’s that all girls and women are valued and take action to change the world.
The Working with Men and Boys on Gender Equality event took place in Helsinki, Finland, from 9 to 12 May 2014 with 29 participants from 17 countries in Europe and from the Arab and Asia-Pacific WAGGGS’ Regions.
The event was funded by the European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe and the Guides and Scouts of Finland. It aimed at promoting boys and men’s engagement as champions of a world that works for girls, boys, women and men, in youth organisations and in European societies.
During the event, participants shared experiences and tools developed to engage associations, men and women, boys and girls in gender work. Some associations have specific commissions dedicated to gender equality work; others have conducted analysis to understand how membership growth and the relevance of educational programmes are influenced by gender dynamics; others are implementing measures to promote women’s leadership and participation in decision-making in the association.
Participants came to the conclusion that a lot has still to be done to raise awareness within the associations and in the society around gender issues and how the gender imbalance affects us all, girls and boys, women and men. Gender mainstreaming - meaning the adoption of gender perspectives and attention to the goal of gender equality in all activities (constitution, educational programme, training, finances, decision-making and leadership, etc.) - has been identified as a very effective strategy to achieve gender equality.
Mainstreaming gender will help associations providing best possible circumstances for the individual members to grow to their fullest potential without being limited by their gender, and social expectations and roles connected, in line with WAGGGS’ mission “To enable girls and young women to develop their fullest potential as responsible citizens of the world”.
The Europe Region WAGGGS, together with the new Gender and Diversity coordinator that will be recruited, will follow-up from the discussions, learning and recommendations of the event to identify how we can add value to MOs willing to work on gender. This will contribute to the achievement of the following targets of the European Membership Development Strategy:
- At least 100 young men from MOs championing gender in local or regional contexts;
- 10 MOs achieving at least 5 milestones against their plans to improve young women's participation in decision making in their structures
Please download our resource GENDER EQUALITY FOR A WORLD OF OPPORTUNITIES written as an outcome of the Gender Equality Men and Boys project funded by the European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe and the Guides and Scouts of Finland.