Engaging Men to Advance Gender Equality

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Since the passage of UNSC Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security (WPS) in October 2000, gender mainstreaming in humanitarian programming has highlighted not only the differential impacts of war and crisis on women, but also the important contributions women make to conflict resolution and the long-term sustainability of peace agreements. While traditionally considered as separate from humanitarian action, developments in the WPS domain have important implications for aid organizations in a number of contemporary crisis settings.  While humanitarian organizations and government agencies have increasingly recognized the link between women’s empowerment and security and conflict outcomes, policies reflecting this shift have not sufficiently translated into practice.

The struggle to achieve equitable representation of women in discussions regarding peace, security, and humanitarian programming is due in part to an overrepresentation of men in leadership positions throughout the sector. While concurrently creating more pathways for the inclusion of women, men can also be leveraged to advance gender equality--particularly when they recognize the inclusion of women as an essential building block for stabilization and security. As Jolynn Shoemaker and Sahana Dharmapuri write in Not the Usual Suspects: Engaging Male Champions of Women, Peace and Security, “Male advocates in leadership positions sit at a critical strategic vantage point, and can shift the priorities and perceptions around these issues to gradually reshape how business is done.”

In a panel conversation with experts and practitioners, this podcast will explore how men can work as allies to advance gender equality in humanitarian settings, what challenges remain for the practical implementation of gender equitable policies and programming, and opportunities to advance a broader coalition of voices in humanitarian leadership and decision-making.

This month's podcast focuses on the following questions:

  • What are some of the challenges that might face men who want to be involved in work to advance gender equality, both within an organization itself or externally in humanitarian or development programming? 


  • What are some suggestions for engaging men on gender equality? 


  • Are there specific trainings or skills men (and women) who want to engage on gender equality should seek out? What opportunities are available for education on these issues? Which skills are most needed? 


  • What tools and methods might exist for creating an environment where gender analysis and mainstreaming are incorporated into strategy and programming? 

Sahana Dharmapuri

Director of Our Secure Future program,

One Earth Future Foundation

Jolynn Shoemaker

One Earth Future Foundation

Omar Robles

Senior Program Officer,

Women's Refugee Commission


Fabio Verani

Senior Technical Advisor on Gender Program Design and Implementation, CARE Gender Justice Team


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