By Max Hill
Today I attended an event on ending sexual violence against women in conflict. The event was held at the United Nations and announced the launch of the #HeforShe video campaign. Speakers at the event included: Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director for UN Women, Zainab Bangura, Special Representative on Sexual Violence, and Sir Mark Lyall Grant, UK Permanent Representative to the UN.
The United Kingdom Mission to the United Nations (in partnership with UN Women) organized the campaign. Speaking at the event, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said it is “time to act” as he continued to provide examples of recent acts of violence against women from around the world.
At today’s event the Secretary-General launched a video campaign that promotes men joining the global fight in opposition to violence against women. It promotes positive masculinity and seeks to move past the attitude of “boys will be boys”. Positive masculinity is defined as not the suppression of women/girls but showing respect for women in equality and participation in all sectors of society. Men and women should support each other equally in their dreams and goals, so that, by working together, everyone can achieve their dreams.
The campaign is working to show the commitment among the UN community to using gender equality to aid in ending violence against women. The campaign was initially launched on March 8, 2014 and has inspired action in many places already. One example of this is shown in Zimbabwe, where a man, upon seeing the campaign, began a “husband school” to promote positive masculinity and teach men how to be good and supportive husbands.
The goals of the campaign are being achieved by compiling 15-second videos of people answering the following questions:
- In your view, what is a positive image of masculinity?
- What does gender equality mean to you?
- How can women and men work together in ending sexual violence in conflict?
Below I have answered the questions myself:
- Positive masculinity is men standing next to women, as equals, not above them. Stereotypes, foolish pride and archaic views of how men and women should act are discarded.
- To me gender equality means we work to get rid of expectations for genders. Gender roles as many of us have learned them, I believe, should be looked as a manual for how not to treat others.
- Men and women can work together by promoting understanding. Understanding of where each gender comes from and how each gender is often raised to act. Men and women should work together to discard prejudices and promote our connections and similarities.
Add your voice and your community to the cause and help end violence against women.