What is a man’s role in achieving gender equality?

What is a man’s role in achieving gender equality?

When it comes to achieving gender equality in South Africa, there’s still a long way for us to go. We all have a role to play in making this a reality and it’s important for men to know what their part is so that they can help us achieve equality. Here’s more.

Acknowledge male privilege

It’s important for men to understand that they are in a position of privilege because of patriarchy (a system of society and/or government, where men hold the power and women are at a disadvantage). Male privilege refers to men and boys having certain things made easier for them than women simply because they’re male.  In order to achieve equality, it’s important to address and challenge male privilege in the workplace, school and in our communities.

Show Support

One way men can show women support is by talking about issues affecting women, such as catcalling. They can talk to other men to discourage this behaviour and raise awareness about other negative behaviours. It may be a challenge to speak up at first, but it’s extremely important for men to be willing to call out unfair treatment, harassment and injustice when speaking to their peers. It also helps to challenge stereotypes around gender roles in the home; for example sharing responsibilities around house chores, cooking and taking care of the children .

Another way to show support is to stand up against the violence against women and children by calling out perpetrators and apologists. Men can be allies in campaigns that speak about gender-based violence, gender equality and sexual rights to help get the message across.

Help change power dynamics

Unfortunately, the empowerment of girls and young women may seem like a threat to some men, but it actually benefits us all. It’s important for men to unlearn patriarchal ways in order to be role models in achieving complete equality. This can be done in the home, workplace and in our communities. It starts with small acts that eventually accumulate to create greater change.

Being treated fairly and equally is a basic right and people of all genders should have access to it. This means that it’s every gender’s responsibility to work towards achieving gender equality. Encourage your male family members and friends to practice these behaviours and unlearn past behaviours in order to become better role models in society. If you’re ever discriminated against because of your gender, you can contact the Commission for Gender Equality.

Remember, if you or a friend need someone to talk to, you can speak to me for advice or help here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, a Twitter DM or WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).