Working with boys and men for a change : lessons from Fiji : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy in Developmental Studies at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
Male involvement in sexual and reproductive health and anti-violence interventions are two of the more common entry points in working with men to achieve gender equality. The most promising interventions are those that challenge gender norms, questioning men's views of themselves and stimulating their interest about gender equality in different ways. Although most interventions inevitably alter gender norms in an effort to change the behaviour of project recipients, if not executed in a gender-sensitive fashion, these interventions may exacerbate rather than alleviate existing inequalities. One important issue therefore is when, and to what extent, programming involving men should compromise on feminist goals. The Men as Partners pilot programme and Women's Crisis Centre in Fiji worked with similar groups of men in two distinct ways. The former adopted a locally and culturally appropriate style of addressing men about gender issues and sexual and reproductive health, and the latter took a more radical, feminist, 'rights' stance in workshops with men regarding violence. Through consultation with project participants, family members, project staff, and affiliated NGOs, the research raises questions and discusses the implications for on-going work with men in the field of gender and development. It draws some conclusions about the extent to which each intervention contributed to the transformation of attitudes among men towards equality, and emphasises the need for new 'men in development' strategies to be unapologetically feminist in their focus.