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A new how-to guide released by Plan International and Equimundo provides parents with nine concrete tips to help navigate conversations with their sons about healthy masculinity, self-expression, and becoming the best people they can be.

Raising caring, respectful boys has become a concern and interest for many parents. Across the country, gender equality, power, cultural norms, harassment, and gender expectations are being discussed openly, in unprecedented ways. Women and girls are speaking out and being encouraged to challenge traditional gender stereotypes, but the messages we are giving boys and men have largely stayed the same.

Research shows that parents play a large role in shaping boys’ views – particularly around expressing their emotions and developing their systems of values and beliefs. For example, Equimundo’s State of the World’s Fathers report finds that if children see their parents share care and domestic work more equally, they tend to do the same as adults.


“When men – as fathers – take on an active, involved role in caring for their children, and in helping them break out of gender stereotypes, it can have positive, long-lasting impact for children, women, and men themselves, and it can accelerate progress toward gender equality for this generation and the next.” – Gary Barker, President and CEO of Equimundo

How can parents raise their boys to be connected, respectful men who support gender equality? This tip sheet includes practical, evidence-backed guidance on how parents can: encourage personal expression when it comes to toys; challenge harmful stereotypes when it comes to outfits and expression; use play and imagination as a way to define positive values and qualities; be clear about consent, and more.

Read all nine tips in the how-to guide for parents here.

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