Pathways to gender equitable men: Reflections on findings from the International Men and Gender Equality survey in the light of twenty years of gender change in South Africa

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 16
  • SDG 5
  • Abstract:

    This article reflects on the findings of the International Men and Gender Equality survey through the lens of contemporary South African contexts of change. While huge strides have been made toward gender justice in South Africa since 1994, there are many indications, including high rates of gender-based violence, that inequalities on the basis of gender intersected with other forms of inequality persist. Further, some research illustrates a growing resistance among men and women to gender justice policies and measures. The article argues that far more work is required in South Africa to shift both men and women's perceptions of the value of gender justice for boys and men, and in facilitating a more authentic investment for boys and men in their own and social change. It also points to how much of the current scholarship on men and boys focuses on "problems" that reproduces a negative construction of certain groups of boys and men that is also raced and classed. In taking stock of a lack of progress in twenty years of democracy and gender equality goals in South Africa, the article argues the importance of shifting emphasis to what may be seen as the "positive" moments of men's relationship to gender equality and justice. It argues that the findings of the survey point to the value of strategic engagement with and acknowledgment of existing participation of boys and men in alternative, equitable, and constructive practices, such as more active participation in caring practices.