Engaging Men & Boys for Gender Equity

Integrating Strategies to Prevent Gender-based Violence and Engage Men and Boys to Achieve Gender Equality through National Strategic Plans on HIV and AIDS 

There is growing recognition of and attention to gender-based violence as a cause and consequence of HIV, and an expanding evidence-base establishing the linkages between HIV, gender inequality, and violence against women and girls. Despite this, programming and policies to address the intersection have not yet reached the scale, depth, or breadth required to reverse the overlapping epidemics of gender-based violence and of HIV. Too often, policies and programming to address gender-based violence are under-resourced and fragmented, operating in parallel to the national HIV response rather than in coordination and alignment. Moreover, the current level of resources for advancing women’s rights and responding to gender inequality and gender-based violence in the context of HIV is insufficient to effectively implement policies that do exist, support the scale-up and replication of promising programmes, to engage in operational research, or to expand the evidence base. Lack of adequate investment in national strategies to address structural drivers of gender inequality and of violence (in general and in the context of HIV) has resulted in a fragmented approach, consisting generally of small-scale projects, often operating without the benefit of a sound unifying national strategy, and with limited investment in monitoring and evaluation.

National Strategic Plans on HIV and AIDS are a key platform for articulating an HIV response that advances gender equality, champions women’s rights, engages men and boys, and ends gender-based violence as a cause and consequence of HIV.

As such, ATHENA has collaborated with the MenEngage Alliance, UNFPA, UNDP and a range of UN and civil society partners to identify lessons learned and achievements from workshops held in Nairobi, Kenya (December 2010) and Istanbul, Turkey (November 2011), and Johannesburg, South Africa (December 2012). Click here to read the final report from the December 2012 Johannesburg meeting.

See our Gendering National Strategic Plans page for more information on this initiative.

The Johannesburg Call to Action

ATHENA is a member of the MenEngage Alliance Steering Committee. In October 2009, ATHENA participated in the drafting and launch of the Johannesburg Call to Action, a document that calls for men and boys to take a stand against domestic and sexual violence, mobilize to reduce the spread and impact of HIV and AIDS, and commit themselves to deepening democracy and strengthening human rights across the African continent.