Review findings

Engendering Men: A Collaborative Review of Evidence on Men and Boys in Social Change and Gender Equality

Twenty years after the Fourth World Conference on Women and its Platform for Action, in Beijing 1995, the call for working with men and boys to promote gender equality and women and girls’ empowerment has become commonplace in development. Yet, this agenda still needs a better overview of available evidence to inform policy and practice.

Evidence Summary

In response to this call, the ‘Engendering Men: Evidence on Routes to Gender Equality’ (EMERGE) project has produced an Evidence Summary highlighting lessons from a major literature review on what works best in engaging men and boys for gender equality. The review explores the nature of changing social norms and the institutional arrangements and structures which sustain or shift norms and attitudes.

Front cover of the Emerge evidence summary

The review of evidence found that social, economic and political processes and trends have important links with gender equality. Social processes and trends however are mediated by policies and institutions. A key finding from the review is that there has been a focus on individual women’s or girls’ empowerment rather than policy attention to gender relations or structural perspectives. Within this context, the review discusses the diversity, complexity and intersectionality of men’s roles in gender and development work. Getting men’s support for gender equality is critical. The review shows that this requires progressive policies, but that these must be complemented by strategies for wider social change that influence norms, behaviours and attitudes at multiple levels.

Download the Evidence Summary

Evidence Report

The full evidence report is designed to help answer the question: ‘what works best when it comes to engaging men and boys for gender equality?’ The review critically assesses trends and shifts in related social norms and structures over the past 20 years, successful policies and programmes and implications for best practice, and future directions for promoting men’s and boys’ support for gender equality across a variety of priority thematic areas.

Each chapter reviews the changes that have taken place in a particular thematic area. These include:

  • Poverty, work and employment
  • Fatherhood, unpaid care and the care economy
  • Education
  • Sexual health and rights
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Sexual and gender based violence
  • Conflict, security and peace building
  • Public and political participation

The goal is to move beyond a narrow individualistic programmatic focus and attempt to achieve a broader and more comprehensive understanding of the interplay between laws, policies and institutional practices in achieving gender equality and the most effective pathways for sustainable change that take into account individual, community and structural factors.

Download the Evidence Report