MenCare aims to engage fathers from the very beginning of their children’s lives in positive, equitable parenting and as allies in gender equality overall. Becoming a father can be a transformative moment, through which men’s roles as active parents can support family wellbeing, gender equality, and better health for mothers, fathers, and children. It’s a moment of change when men are looking for guidance and open to new ideas, including around gender roles.
In various contexts around the world, ideas of what it means to be a man and a father are deeply rooted in rigid gender norms and power imbalances that can promote violence against women, hinder health and well-being, and increase women’s inequitable burden of caregiving.The home is one place these gender norms play out, sometimes through the reinforcing of stereotypes that define care and domestic work as “women’s work.”
We also know that past experiences can shape future behavior. Engaging men in positive fatherhood is a key opportunity to break cycles of violence and replace them with cycles of care and equality. Men who saw their own fathers in caring relationships and participating in domestic work are more likely to do the same.
Working with fathers and couples directly, MenCare partners encourage men and women to challenge traditional gender roles and provide them with opportunities to learn and practice parenting skills. MenCare also aims to achieve change within institutions by training health care providers and working to embed such programming into broader services and activities.
MenCare’s media campaigns, adapted around the world, inspire men, their families, and their communities to support men’s caregiving. MenCare provides global content and advice for local organizations on how to use and tailor it to their own cultures and contexts. Partners have created TV advertisements, posters, slogans, photos, radio programs, and more. MenCare partners also conduct targeted policy advocacy, and the global State of the World’s Fathers reports serve as an advocacy platform to promote men’s involvement in caregiving.
Since its start in 2011, the MenCare campaign – coordinated globally by Promundo and Sonke Gender Justice – now has partners in over 55 countries.