Negotiating With Men
The Horn of Africa, in particular, has seen women’s inequality enforced and entrenched through cultural norms, religious dictates and state policies, implemented by and through men. Negotiating with men and engaging patriarchy is essential to the path toward equal human rights for women and men. SIHA approaches the issue of negotiating with men with caution, being wary of the risks of recreating men as gatekeepers – that only through them, their engagement, and their changes in behavior or attitudes can women achieve equality. During the prior strategy cycle, SIHA saw the value of a contextual approach to negotiating with men. Although the countries in the Horn of Africa share many similar dynamics, each has its own nuanced context and socio-political dynamics of patriarchy and violence; where SIHA has seen success, engaging men in frank discussions of gender and patriarchy, it was largely due to contextualized approaches that enabled the root causes of violence to emerge. SIHA will use participatory approaches to develop contextualized ways of engaging men that are accountable to the women and girls SIHA represents. SIHA sees male youth as an especially critical population to engage in changing negative social norms about women and girls. SIHA will also look for opportunities to do research on masculinities in different countries in the coming years.