On December 8, 2023, MenCare, co-coordinated by Equimundo and Sonke Gender Justice, hosted the final webinar in the CARING series, “Generate and disseminate mainstream media that portrays men and boys as non-violent and equitable caregivers,” highlighting strategic recommendations from the State of the World’s Fathers report.
In this webinar, our expert panelists discussed how men and boys come to learn about their roles and responsibilities in the family as caregivers and fathers. Men’s uptake of caregiving is not only an individual decision but also relies heavily on social and gender norms and the influence of many factors including their families, peers, the media, social media, online gaming, politicians, and even celebrities.
On the one hand, men in every country we surveyed say they do a substantial amount of care – even if they are not doing as much as they say they are or as much as women are doing. This could be one positive sign that gender norms around care are changing – that men feel being seen as caring is both acceptable and positive. Yet other global surveys find that norms around gender equality are not necessarily improving and are even backsliding. An important part of that backlash is that men and boys feel they no longer have a role and blame feminism. An Ipsos MORI study found the proportion of people who think that “things have gone far enough in my country” when it comes to giving women equal rights with men increased from 42 percent in 2019 to 49 percent in 2023.
In this webinar, we discussed how television, media, and online gaming can be a source for narrative change. We looked at case studies of communications and media campaigns that promote men’s involvement in care work, prevent gender-based violence, teach the value of care, and promote equitable, nonviolent, caring relationships; examine television shows and media that portrays men and boys doing care work in the home and sharing it equally with their partners; and discuss public campaigns that support the active engagement of fathers and male caregivers.
This webinar comes following the recent #HowToTalkWithMen campaign, coordinated by MenEngage Alliance. #HowToTalkWithMen is a joint MenEngage Alliance initiative to explore how, with the right words, questions, stories, and approaches, we can spark gender-transformative change among men and boys towards gender justice, LGBTQI rights, women’s rights and other intersectional feminist issues.
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