Signs of toxic masculinity in a relationship, A counter-offensive to toxic masculinity. The “16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence” with the theme “End Violence Against Women Now” do it against the grim backdrop of recent global estimates that one out of every three women, or 736 million women worldwide, will face violence in their lifetime. Despite international and national promises, this figure has remained constant over the last decade. According to the latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) data for India, 29% of ever-married women have experienced marital violence — a modest decline from the 31% reported in NFHS-4, but still a significant figure and a significant source of worry.
There is a need for a holistic approach that engages men and boys at all levels of the socio-ecological spectrum. One, get kids involved early. Working with children on gender equality during their formative years, when their views and behaviors are still being formed, is crucial to confront masculinity and the rejection of violence. A significant part of this engagement is life-skills education through school and community-based programs emphasizing equality, consent, respect, and dignity.
Two is to mobilize communities. It is critical to engage on a collective level, which can be accomplished through various methods such as inter-personal dialogues, local and opinion leader engagement, creative use of performance arts to promote introspection, and large-scale campaigns that challenge gender stereotypes and discriminatory norms.
Three, use media to impact public consciousness. Ensuring gender sensitivity in fighting stereotypes through media and enhancing men’s involvement in the media business is a critical step forward.
Four, engage in systems and services. Across all sectors, there is a tremendous need to engage men and redefine masculinity (including health, social services, law, and order). All this can address any gender prejudices at the provider level and structural obstacles that prevent women from having safe working environments. It is especially critical in light of the heightened vulnerability of frontline service providers, who are primarily women.
Five include men with institutional authority and influence in VAWG preventive and response initiatives. Experts have stressed the importance of involving men with institutional and structural power, like political and commercial leaders, in VAWG prevention and response efforts. Men should be more involved in securing support for altering structural disparities through policy and legal changes and supporting diversity and equality-friendly company and workplace practices.
The importance of including men and boys cannot be overstated. On the problem of masculinity, UNFPA collaborates with strategic and like-minded partners to advance gender equality and end violence. Men and boys are encouraged to reject harmful stereotypes, embrace respectful, healthy relationships, and promote the human rights of all people, everywhere, through UNFPA programs.