We Believe

We believe that work with men and boys for gender equality must hold individuals and institutions – including ourselves – accountable to global goals of equality and justice. We also believe that the work with men and boys is not an end in itself, but rather a means of promoting gender justice. This entails: (1) constant reflection; (2) evaluation of our results, including through listening to women and girls, men and boys, and individuals of all gender identities; and (3) meaningful dialogue with a diversity of individuals and stakeholders.

We strive to practice this accountability in diverse ways as an organization and as individuals working for Equimundo. As individuals, we hold ourselves accountable to a code of conduct that requires us to take seriously gender equality in our daily personal and professional lives. We put these beliefs into practice in our policies as well, offering equal parental leave for all staff, prioritizing diversity and equality in our hiring, and establishing mechanisms for responding to acts of abuse or harassment.

Our Core Values and Beliefs

  • Relational nature of gender: We believe that questioning patriarchy – and finding shared and mutual interest in overcoming it – means working with women and girls, with men and boys, and with individuals of all gender identities, as allies and partners. We view patriarchy as creating and sustaining power inequalities by men collectively over women (including cis and trans women), as well as gender-nonconforming individuals, and by some groups of men over other marginalized men, and as a social force that keeps all individuals from having the connected, fulfilled, and peaceful lives they deserve. We view gender power and gender norms as constructed in relationships among individuals and reinforced by societies and structures, and we strive to work in ways that overcome the gender binary and achieve equality.

  • Collaboration: We underscore the importance of learning from, and collaborating with, women’s rights movements, as well as LGBTQIA+ groups and racial justice organizations. This includes partnering on research, programming, and advocacy initiatives, as well as fundraising efforts, so that we increase impact and reduce, whenever possible, competition for funding and visibility.

  • Men as part of the equation, not as champions: We support the need for men, specifically cis men – including male political leaders and male celebrities – to speak up and speak out about gender injustices and violence against women and other gender identities. At the same time, we criticize efforts that are one-off or tokenistic, particularly when they do not require men to fully question and understand how privilege and power work in their own lives and in the spaces where they work. We promote men’s involvement as allies who speak out together with women and other gender identities for gender justice, never for them or instead of them.

  • Positive perspective: While we recognize the crucial importance of holding those individuals who cause harm accountable for their actions, we work from a positive perspective with men and boys, focusing on their roles and responsibilities as agents of change and as advocates for equality rather than only as perpetrators or potential perpetrators.

  • Rights-based ecological model: We apply an ecological, life-cycle, and human rights-based approach within our work, recognizing these as essential elements to achieving transformative and sustainable social change.

  • Transparency: We support the full disclosure of our plans, results, budgets, program approaches, research instruments, and other materials to all interested parties. We believe in open-source materials and in giving everyone equal access to our methodologies for change.

  • Participatory decision-making and youth participation: We support the full participation of both adults and young people in our research, programming, and advocacy. We work to include the perspectives of youth and take their opinions seriously in our program development and in our strategic planning. We believe youth are particularly well-placed to question and promote a more equal future and to deconstruct the gender binary.

  • Child protection: We adhere to strict guidelines in terms of child protection and safeguarding, working to ensure that our encounters and dialogue with children and young people never exploit, abuse, or contain elements or practices that may reinforce domination.

  • Evidence-based, gender-transformative approaches: We work to ensure that our interventions are gender-transformative; that is, they transform gendered power relations and harmful gender norms. We invest considerable time and resources to build evidence for effective interventions with men and boys, women and girls, and individuals of all gender identities to achieve gender equality. We do this because we believe that we owe it to individuals, communities, and the cause to hold ourselves to the highest standards for achieving impact, and that the funding we receive for this work must be used in the most effective and efficient manner. This means measuring not only individual attitude and behavior change, but also change at community, societal, institutional, and national levels.

  • Grounding in local context: We seek to create and tailor our methodologies – with our partners – to fit each specific context where they are implemented. To this point, we believe there are times that gender-transformative approaches mean working with men or boys in same-gender settings, and women and girls in same-gender settings, and other times when we must work with all genders together. We believe that these strategies should be defined in local contexts through dialogue and through formative research.

  • Intersectional feminism: We take an intersectional feminist approach, as we acknowledge the diversity of experiences and discrimination that individuals face based on how different aspects of their identities, such as gender, race, age, socioeconomic status, physical or mental ability, religion, sexual orientation, or ethnicity, combine or interact. The interplay of a person’s multiple identities can determine compounding and particular experiences of discrimination. We see gender inequalities and gender injustice as intrinsically linked with other forms of injustice including the suppression of reproductive rights, economic injustice, historical racial and ethnic-based inequalities, and homophobia and transphobia. We believe our work must take into account and understand these multiple driving forces of inequality to be effective and to achieve lasting social justice.

We believe that engaging men and boys is not the solution to achieving gender equality. However, we also believe that without transforming harmful masculinities, we will not fully achieve full equality. A gender analysis requires us to be intersectional and relational if we are to achieve the equitable world we all desire and deserve. Gender norms and patriarchy clearly create ongoing disadvantages in the lives of women, girls, and all gender identities. They also create vulnerabilities in men’s and boys’ lives. We believe it is possible to both fight for gender equality and stay centered in human rights, while also transforming masculinities for the benefit of all.


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