“We live in a world of profound inequalities and unbalanced power relations, where rigid norms and values about how people should behave fuel and exacerbate injustices.” This is the opening line of the Delhi Call to Action, created by participants of the second MenEngage Global Symposium in New Delhi last November. How and where to take it from here, 20 years after Beijing?
Thank you for offering me, on behalf of MenEngage, the opportunity to share some of the points laid out in the Delhi Declaration. This is a message to governments and the United Nations. It is also a pledge that we, the global MenEngage Alliance consisting of over 600 diverse civil society organizations, 6 regional and 33 country networks, will work on these issues – internally with our members, and within our own structures and networks and as partners with (other) women’s organisations and feminist groups. Please do hold us accountable for that.
1. No matter who or where we are, patriarchal norms and gender injustices make our relationships less fulfilling, less healthy and less safe. From an early age, they introduce suffering, violence, illness, hate and death to our families and communities. They strip us of our human rights and hinder our ability to live a life with love, dignity, intimacy and mutual respect. They hamper the development of our economies and keep our global society from flourishing. We need to overcome these immense threats to human wellbeing.
2. Patriarchy affects everyone, but in different ways. Women and girls continue to face significant, disproportionately high levels of gender injustice. Men and boys are both privileged and damaged by patriarchy, but are rarely aware of that fact. We need to acknowledge that gender inequalities are unacceptable, no matter who is affected.
3. We build on a precious heritage. We owe our awareness and knowledge to the pioneering work of feminist and women’s rights movements. We align with that work and acknowledge achievements in transforming societies. We continue our work with men and boys towards gender equality, informed by feminist and human rights principles, organisations and movements – in a spirit of solidarity.