In the U.S., women’s health rights have recently faced numerous setbacks in the Supreme Court, women continue to bear the brunt of unpaid care work for families, and though teen pregnancy continues to drop, the U.S. still has one of the highest rates among developed nations. Since 1997, Equimundo has engaged men and boys from Brazil to Democratic Republic of the Congo and Bangladesh to reduce gender inequality and address many of these same issues.
With nearly 20 years of experience on the global stage, our office in Washington, DC is now bringing its international approaches home. The United States is one of the most developed (and richest countries), but it just barely falls within the top third of countries (ranking 55 out of 155 countries) on the UN’s Gender Inequality Index, exposing disparities between women and men across health, empowerment, and the labor market.
Equimundo’s gender-transformative programs aimed at men and boys are critical to addressing these inequities and building a more equal footing for all. These programs – such as Program H for young men and Program P for new fathers and couples – have been rigorously evaluated. They have demonstrated significant impact in changing the way men and boys view themselves as well as in reducing self-reports of violence and unsafe sexual practices. In 2013, Equimundo began formative research to bring these evidence-based programs to the U.S. in order to address the toxic masculinity and inequitable gender norms at the heart of many of the U.S.’ dismal gender indicators.
An interactive curriculum, Program H encourages young men to take a critical look at the messages they receive about what it means to be a man, and to discuss and practice new, healthier behaviors. Adapted in over 22 countries around the world, it is currently being evaluated in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and is in the initial stages of implementation in Washington, D.C. Renamed Manhood 2.0, the program was adapted in Pittsburgh to address harmful gender norms and high rates of adolescent relationship abuse and dating violence. As a group, young men meet to learn to question concepts of gender, media messages, aggression, and violence. They explore the relationships between masculinity, social expectations, and sexual assault, as well as discuss healthy alternatives to toughness and hyper-masculinity. In Washington, D.C. the program will be adapted to focus primarily on teen pregnancy prevention, while retaining its overarching goal of establishing positive gender norms and reducing violence.
Following the launch of the State of America’s Fathers report in June 2016, Equimundo will implement its Program P curricula in the United States to constructively engage fathers to increase their participation in childcare and enhance gender equality within households and families. As part of this initiative, Equimundo has partnered with Mary’s Center in Washington, D.C. to adapt the Program P curriculum for Latino fathers. Equimundo is also working with Highland Community Services to implement this program with incarcerated fathers. The curriculum includes a series of activities and sessions that focus on caregiving, gender, violence and conflict, the stages of child development, and positive parenting practices. These programs will be evaluated to ensure they remain grounded in evidence and can be modeled and adapted for implementation nationwide.
Leveraging Equimundo’s extensive research and work in gender equality and advocacy alongside the work of experienced U.S.-based partners, these innovative programs will bring a global perspective that is often left out of conversations or misunderstood in the areas of caregiving, men’s health, and gender equality in the U.S. For more information on Equimundo’s programs, click here.