The Secretary-General's Network of Men Leaders
“Men must teach each other that real men do not violate or oppress women – and that a woman’s place is not just in the home or the field, but in schools and offices and boardrooms.”
SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
Too often, boys and young men are taught to equate masculinity with the use of violence and dominance over women and girls. Too often, such behavior is met with silence and is tolerated by other men. This only serves to normalize gender inequality and negative stereotypes.
Men have a crucial role to play as fathers, brothers, friends, decision makers, and community and opinion leaders, in speaking out against violence against women and girls and ensuring that priority attention is given to the issue. Importantly, men can provide positive role models for young men and boys, based on healthy images of masculinity.
For many years, women around the world have led efforts to prevent and end violence, but today more and more men are adding their support to the movement. As part of the growing efforts to include men as part of the solution to prevent and end violence against women, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched in 2009 his Network of Men Leaders.
The Leaders in this expanding Network – current and former politicians, civil society and youth activists, religious and community leaders, cultural figures and other prominent individuals – work in their spheres of influence to undertake specific actions to end violence against women, from raising public awareness, to advocating for adequate laws, to meeting with young men and boys, to holding governments accountable. The Network supports the work of women around the world to defy destructive stereotypes, embrace equality, and inspire men and boys everywhere to speak out against violence.
“Young people were born with the right to participate. Being enrolled with a movement, project, or their own initiative is basically setting this right in the right place!”
Bothaina Qamar, International Coordinator,Y-PEER Network, Jordan
Young people are a driving force for change and they use their knowledge power and passion to challenge negative attitudes, gender stereotypes and behavior that can lead to violence.
In May 2012, the Global UNiTE Youth Forum brought together youth activists from around the world to create a unique network to end violence against women and girls. As a truly global space, the Forum incorporated workshops and learning sessions, in which participants shared experiences, ideas and their passion for human rights. In the increasingly energized atmosphere, young people found it easy to cross any barriers posed by language and culture, to form a close-knit group with ambitious ideas.
The participants formed a Global UNiTE Youth Network and established plans to take their work forward. Their Youth Statement, presented to senior UN officials, emphasizes the crucial role of youth as agents of change and recognizes the importance of spaces that enable youth to share their experiences, ideas and challenges without fear of discrimination or stigma.
Artists use various media to provide a collective “voice” calling for an end to violence against women and girls. Songs, acting, poetry and the visual arts become powerful tools in challenging stereotypes and changing perceptions and behaviour. This is why they have been invited to play one of the key roles in the UNiTE Campaign.
The Network has been active in a number of countries around the world, promoting messages on violence against women and girls through song, video and art work.