Engaging men and boys in addressing gender-based violence has grown in attention over the past 20 years. However, the emerging field predominantly focuses on the issues as a problem of individuals, neglecting the role of the institutions and policies that shape norms of gender inequality and perpetuate violent power asymmetries between men and women in people’s everyday lives (Cornwall, Edström and Grieg 2011).
Men’s engagement in addressing GBV has therefore tended to be relatively depoliticised, focusing predominantly on individuals’ attitude and behaviour change, and less on accountability of the structures that uphold patriarchal power relations and male supremacy, such as macroeconomic policies and the governance cultures of many formal and informal institutions.
This movement mapping report thus introduces a collaborative research project between the Centre for Health and Social Justice (CHSJ), India, their local activist partners in the Men’s Action to Stop Violence Against Women (MASVAW) campaign and the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) to explore the effectiveness of men’s collective action in addressing GBV. CHSJ is working across India on the issue of mobilising men to transform discriminatory norms into those based on equity, equality and gender justice to ensure the fundamental human rights of all people.
The research is premised on the notion that challenging patriarchy and working towards gender equality must include working with men and boys to understand their privileges as well as the co-option, coercion and subjugation that they also face within a patriarchal system. In turn, we aim to improve understanding and knowledge of the changing roles of men in addressing GBV and how and why collective action holds possibilities as an effective strategy to support this in the Indian context. This research is exploring the actors, strategies, challenges, collaborations and pathways for future engagement of the MASVAW campaign that works across the state of Uttar Pradesh.
Inclusion of the most marginalised people through addressing discriminatory dynamics is central to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. This research report considers how the intersection of spatial, economic and identity-based factors drive poverty and marginalisation.
It provides insights into how participatory processes with people living in these intersections can contribute to developing accountable relationships between the most excluded groups and duty-bearers. It is based on data, analysis and reflections gathered through collaborative and participatory research in Egypt, Ghana, India, South Africa and Uganda, conducted with Participate partner organisations the Centre for Development Services, Radio Ada, Praxis, Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation and Soroti Catholic Justice and Peace Commission.
In these five settings, partner organisations or ‘translocutors’ have developed participatory action research processes to facilitate exchange between citizens and a range of duty-bearers. They have attempted to open pathways to accountability, through iterative stages of building confidence within the group, deepening contextual understanding, promoting dialogue between citizens and duty-bearers, and developing working alliances between groups and agencies. This report discusses these experiences, and draws out learning and recommendations on how to build inclusive and accountable relationships with marginalised groups through progressive engagement among stakeholders in different spaces and levels of the ‘accountability ecosystem’.