Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau, Co-Founder of Malala Fund Ziauddin Yousafzai, and filmmaker Jennifer Siebel Newsom named among 8 honorees from 6 countries called to envision the future of manhood.
Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau, Co-Founder of Malala Fund Ziauddin Yousafzai, and filmmaker Jennifer Siebel Newsom are 3 of the 8 individuals who will be recognized as Equimundo Future of Manhood honorees on Tuesday, April 24. Never before have these high-profile and high-impact leaders – including honorees United Nations leader Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka (UN under-secretary-general and UN Women executive director); government representatives Tamara Adrián (Venezuelan member of parliament and transgender activist), David Grosso (DC councilmember), and Geir Haarde (ambassador of Iceland, representing the country of Iceland); and civil-society advocate Joseph Jones (founder and CEO of Center for Urban Families) – come together to debate the most pressing global issues around men’s roles in gender equality and to drive the agenda forward. They will join in recognition and solidarity with Equimundo’s 20 years of evidence and action as a global leader in engaging men, together with women, to promote gender justice and prevent violence, with partners in over 45 countries.
From the #MeToo Movement to Time’s Up, men’s violence and harassment are finally coming to light and being held to account on a global scale. The world’s policymakers are increasingly paying attention to why men matter for gender equality. However, the World Economic Forum still predicts more than 100 years before we see actual equality, and men haven’t been engaged at large enough scale to accelerate progress.
“Much of the work to engage men as allies in gender equality in the past 20 years has seen men as the obstacles,” says Equimundo President and CEO Gary Barker. “We must call men out and demand equality. But we also must build on the men and women who already believe manhood can be positive, healthy, nonviolent, and peaceful. We honor these individuals for precisely that – they exemplify the future of manhood we all want and need.”
These Future of Manhood honorees – nominated by an advisory board of 24 global experts, academics, and practitioners on the topic of gender justice – will lend their voices to debate and envision what’s needed to eradicate harassment, break gender stereotypes, and create a world where men are true activists and allies in reaching equality. Honoree Ziauddin Yousafzai, co-founder of Malala Fund and known globally for his solidarity in empowering girls, including daughter Malala, the youngest Nobel Prize Laureate, believes, “For centuries, men have stood in the way of women’s freedom and advancement. But manhood should be about standing up for the equal rights of all people. Our societies will thrive when more men start supporting every woman’s right to learn and lead.”
The revolution that full gender equality implies in the lives of women must also bring a revolution in manhood; many women and men are already leading this effort, by their voices, their examples, and their lives. Few prominent leaders, however, have stepped up to publicly call out men’s roles in leading toward a more equal tomorrow. Honoree Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada is one world leader doing so: “It’s far past time to make gender equality a reality in our world today – and men and boys have to be part of the solution,” says Prime Minister Trudeau. “ Everyone benefits when women and girls can participate freely, fully, and equally in society – and it’s on all of us to promote the rights of women and girls, respect their voices, and work together to build a more just, inclusive world.” His individual voice speaking for gender equality comes alongside his crafting and implementation of a feminist foreign policy across economics and sexual and reproductive health and rights. Honoree Tamara Adrián, a Venezuelan member of parliament and transgender activist, has also stepped out – specifically as a voice for sexual diversity in public office and in the international development community – promoting dignity and equality as necessary pillars to combat the current state of injustice facing women and girls everywhere.
To truly see men’s partnership for gender equality, we need sustained changes in how we raise boys into men, says honoree Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN under-secretary-general and UN Women executive director: “The future of manhood will be liberated from the ideas of masculinity that are fueled by outdated gender norms and stereotypes […] Such ideas are deeply toxic for us all.” Honoree Joseph Jones, founder and CEO of Center for Urban Families in Baltimore, Maryland and national leader in empowering low-income families and parents in the United States, agrees with the harm of underlying stereotypes about what it means to be a man that fuel sexism and inequality, and hopes that men move past a need “to live up to past stereotypes or mask vulnerabilities that may be perceived as a sign of weakness.”
Shifting these social norms may also require a shift in media and representation. Jennifer Siebel Newsom, CEO and founder of The Representation Project and writer, director, and producer of The Mask You Live In, urges us to focus on messages around the power of care: “I am hopeful that we can raise future generations of boys and men to be whole, to not repress parts of themselves, to value care and caregiving – to see power not as something over other people, but to see real strength as empathy, care, and relationships with other people.” Caregiving is a crucial part of advancing change and gender equality, finds Equimundo’s research: when boys see their fathers living gender equality – taking on the chores and child care – they’re more likely to do so themselves.
One of the key policy levers to inspire men’s global uptake of 50% of the world’s caregiving is parental leave. The country of Iceland has made considerable strides in national and foreign policy to ensure that men are taking on more of the care at home. Iceland’s collective support for engaging men in gender equality as part of its foreign policy agenda and of equitable parental leave at home has led to up to a 90% uptake in paternity leave by men, which can have considerable long-term benefits for women, men, and children and on advancing gender equality. David Grosso, Washington, DC city councilmember, is working to bring this global approach to the United States, leading on one of the most extensive equitable, paid parental leave bills in the country; he hopes to see all men “relinquish their historical dominance in society and work as partners to maintain gender equality in personal, professional, and political life.”
Together, these Future of Manhood honorees will build on Equimundo’s decades of experience, evidence base, and global leadership in promoting gender equality and preventing violence. Equimundo’s work, since 1997, has reached more than 2 million men and women across 45 countries with direct programming to prevent gender-based violence, support women’s rights, and become better parents. Equimundo has also helped to promote changes in laws and policies in paternity leave and violence prevention at the UN and in various countries; and the organization has carried out the largest, most detailed study ever on how men around the world are responding to gender equality – the International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES) in over 36 countries with more than 60,000 men and women, reaching millions of people influencing the global agenda around gender equality and violence prevention.
The global attention around the #MeToo movement has brought a greater focus on the profound gender inequalities that still exist in women’s lives. At the same time, we face a tremendous backlash in some countries. Equimundo seeks, with its Future of Manhood honorees, to envision and inspire a global shift in which men are aware of the power and privilege that they hold, accountable (and hold other men accountable) to the principles of women’s rights and sexual diversity, and able to be caring and vulnerable and brave enough to move beyond either guilt or denial or apathy to a place of action.
About the Future of Manhood Honorees:
|Justin Trudeau is Canada’s 23rd Prime Minister. He also serves as Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of Youth. Justin’s vision of Canada is a country where everyone has a real and fair chance to succeed. His experiences as a teacher, father, leader, and advocate for youth have shaped his dedication to Canadians – and his commitment to make Canada a place where everyone has the opportunities they need to thrive.
|Ziauddin Yousafzai is a co-founder and board member of Malala Fund. He is the father of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Malala Yousafzai. For many years, Ziauddin served as a teacher and school administrator in his home country of Pakistan. When the Taliban invaded their home in Swat Valley, Ziauddin peacefully resisted their efforts to limit personal freedoms. Speaking out put Ziauddin at risk, but he feared remaining silent would be far worse. Inspired by her father’s example, Malala began publicly campaigning for girls to go to school. At age 15, Malala was shot for speaking out. She recovered, continued her campaign, and with Ziauddin founded Malala Fund. Together they champion every girl’s right to 12 years of free, safe, quality education.
Jennifer Siebel Newsom
|Jennifer Siebel Newsom is a filmmaker, CEO, advocate, and thought leader. After graduating from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, she wrote, directed, and produced the 2011 award-winning documentary Miss Representation. As a result of Miss Representation’s powerful impact, she launched The Representation Project, a nonprofit that uses film and media as a catalyst for cultural transformation. Her second film as a director, The Mask You Live In, premiered in 2015 and explores how America’s narrow definition of masculinity is harming boys, men, and society at large. Jennifer is also an executive producer on two Emmy award-winning documentaries, The Invisible War and The Hunting Ground, and she serves on the Advisory Council for the Imagine Kids Bus Project, as well as the Common Sense Media Gender Initiative. Jennifer resides in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom and their four young children.
|Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka is United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women. Currently in her second term, she was sworn into office in 2013 and brings a wealth of experience and expertise to this position, having devoted her career to issues of human rights, equality, and social justice. Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka has worked in government and civil society, and with the private sector, and was actively involved in the struggle to end apartheid in her home country of South Africa. From 2005 to 2008, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka served as Deputy President of South Africa. A longtime champion of women’s rights, she is affiliated with several organizations devoted to education, women’s empowerment, and gender equality.
|Tamara Adrián is a Venezuelan member of parliament and transgender activist, serving as a voice for sexual diversity in public office and in the international development community. She was the first trans woman elected as a lawmaker on the American continent and has worked nationally and internationally promoting equal rights for LGBTI populations. Tamara works as a lawyer and serves as President for the Committee of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, President of the Board of Directors of Global Action for Trans Equality (GATE), and on boards and committees for All Out, UNESCO, WPATH, PLAFAM (an IPPF/WHR Member Association), HRH, and WAS. She is also the former Co-Secretary General Alternate and former World Trans Secretary of ILGA.
|David Grosso is chairperson of the Committee on Education of the Council of the District of Columbia. David was elected to the DC Council as an at-large member in November 2012 to represent residents in all eight wards. During his time in office, David has focused on many issues with one main goal always at the forefront of his mind: making Washington, DC a better city. Central to that goal is education. A high-quality public education system and an innovative public library system help residents gain fruitful employment, attract newcomers, and make the city appealing to businesses. Under David’s leadership, the Committee on Education’s work has been collaborative and forward thinking. From early childhood education to adult learning, David is committed to the well-being of students, ensuring that they are in the best position to succeed. In addition to his focus on education, David is committed to addressing inequities within the criminal justice system, improving health outcomes throughout the city, promoting transparency and open government, strengthening the creative economy, and further engaging residents in the political process.
Joseph T. Jones, Jr.
|Joseph T. Jones, Jr. is founder of the Center For Urban Families (CFUF), a Baltimore, Maryland nonprofit service organization established to strengthen urban communities by helping fathers and families achieve stability and economic success. Mr. Jones is a national leader in workforce development, fatherhood and family services programming, and through his professional and civic involvement influences policy direction nationwide. Mr. Jones has received numerous awards and honors including the Johns Hopkins University Leadership Development Program’s Distinguished Leadership Award, the Walter Sondheim Public Service Award, the White House Champion of Change and was a 2013 CNN Hero. He served on President Obama’s Taskforce on Fatherhood and Healthy Families and several boards including: the Open Society Institute-Baltimore, and the Baltimore Workforce Development Board. He was a community advisor on fatherhood issues to Vice President Al Gore and contributed to First Lady Laura Bush’s Helping America’s Youth initiative.
Country of Iceland
|Iceland, an island country in the North Atlantic with a population of only 340,000, has grabbed headlines for its efforts to achieve gender equality and has topped the WEF Global Gender Gap Index for now 9 years in a row. It pioneered the exclusive paternity leave in the 2000s, at the time the longest exclusive paternity leave in the world. The results are better relationships between Icelandic fathers and their children, more equal division of household tasks, and changed ideas about masculinities among young people. With 1 of 8 men in Iceland a HeforShe and H.E. Gudni Th. Johannesson, the President of Iceland, a HeforShe IMPACT champion, the work to engage men and boys is a whole-of-country effort. To get more men and boys engaged for gender equality, the government has organized Barbershop events around the world and developed a Barbershop toolbox in partnership with UN Women and Equimundo to assist others to organize similar events. Receiving the award for the Government of Iceland is Ambassador Geir Haarde, former Prime Minister of Iceland.