The Role of Men in the Feminist MovementHannah Thies | April 9, 2018
A surprising topic of conversation at this year’s United Nations Commission on the Status of Women was the role of men in the gender equality movement. Amongst discussions of sex trafficking, child marriage, the gender pay gap, sexual harassment in the work place, the #MeToo movement, and others, one topic continued to be brought up again and again: the involvement of men in bringing these issues to an end.
In one session co-sponsored by Australia and the Male Champions of Change entitled, “Accountability for Accelerating Progress on Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women,” it was mentioned more than once that, as men and women are equal partners in life they need to be equal partners in positive transformation. It was discussed at great length, that men should be rising up in their communities and workplaces as voices against discrimination and harassment, and that in instances where injustice has occurred, men should be participating in change. Men likewise, are responsible for also participating in a positive revolution towards mutual respect, equal pay, workplace equality, educational opportunities and demanding that their female counterparts receive what they should.
The Holy See too, in a panel discussion entitled, “Preventing the Trafficking of Rural Women and Girls,” discussed at the length the issue of sex trafficking. In that discussion, it was stated that the most affective prevention of the degradation of human life is a call to action – which must include men and women both. In particular many panelists agreed, that men need to be just as loud and just as outraged when violence and inequality occurs and that they should be the first ones to call their fellow men to action. Discussed at great length thus, was the fact that in instances where men have indeed taken action, other men have followed. As more men participate in the discussion, others are more inclined to likewise join in.
Thus, the general consensus was that women have stood up and called attention to wrongdoings and asked for positive change, but that true and lasting change cannot be accomplished without the help of our male counterparts. Without the participation of both men and women the issues will continue to regenerate. It is thus the responsibility of men to take accountability for wrong doings, to demand equal pay for their female counterparts, institute safe working environments, and end the demand side of the supply and demand of sex trafficking. A true and lasting change requires action on both sides and requires that men be included in the discussion.