Involving boys and men in the gender equality solution to poverty
Guest blog by Nessy Rayner
Kofi Annan, the seventeenth serving secretary general for the United Nations, a highly thought of male figure inside and outside of Africa, reportedly said, ‘There is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women’.
The struggle for women to gain equality all around the world is a constant battle, with both men and women ready to stand up and fight for equal rights for both genders. Through recent uprisings of campaigns like the HeforShe campaign, led by the United Nations, it’s apparent that boys and men are vital in the fight against inequality.
Poverty is inextricably connected to gender inequality. With boys and men in communities all over the world beginning to understand this, they have an increasingly vital part to play when it comes to the education and empowerment of girls and women. The possibilities for whole communities to work alongside each other, to achieve gender equality and reduce poverty is something Team Kenya is feels very strongly about.
Research into this has shown that boys involved in programmes that promote non-violent lifestyles are more likely to support gender equality later in life. When you educate men and boys about gender equality and involve them in solutions, they develop an understanding on the issues of gender, and rights and they become partners in the gender equality movement and can become contributors to change.
Organisations like Team Kenya are working on educating boys about gender equality from primary school level. It’s believed by planting the seed at a younger age, we will start to see a generation of boys and girls growing up together with equal opportunities. In Kenya, reports have shown that women who have equal access to education, health care, and jobs are becoming a key part to working against poverty.
The conclusion? It is vital to involve boys and men in the fight for gender equality!