MeToo and the global attention to women’s rights and girls’ empowerment have made the airwaves from the US, Europe, to Latin America, to South Asia, to Afghanistan. Promundo has carried out multi-country research on young men’s attitudes about masculinities, including its “Man Box studies” carried out in the US, UK, Mexico and elsewhere. Findings confirm that: most young men are firmly on board with equality but don’t know how to practice it or worry about speaking out; others are moving back into the “man box” as they perceive feminism as a threat, particularly for those young men worried about their economic prospects; and others are simply confused, finding themselves surrounded by sexist messages along with more progressive ones. In this presentation, Barker will present key findings from this research – showing the dynamic, situational and context-specific ways young men are reacting to these changes. He will also share findings from recent focus groups with young boys ages 8-13 in the US and preliminary findings from a masculinities analysis of the 25 most watched and streamed TV shows among boys 8-13 in the U.S. Those findings affirm that while boys are seeing many images of empowered and equal women, and show more fluid ideas about manhood, there is a lack of ethnic diversity and a continuing (re)presentation of manhood as inherently violent.
Gary Barker, PhD, is a leading global voice in engaging men and boys in advancing gender equality and positive masculinities. He is the CEO and founder of Promundo, which has worked for 20 years in more than 40 countries, and researcher at DeCode/M. Gary is co-founder of MenCare, a global campaign working in 45 countries to promote men’s involvement as caregivers, and co-founder of MenEngage, a global alliance of more than 700 NGOs. He co-created and leads the International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES), the largest-ever survey of men’s attitudes and behaviors related to violence, fatherhood, and gender equality. He is a co-author of the 2015 and 2017 State of the World’s Fathers reports. He has advised the UN, the World Bank, numerous national governments, and key international foundations and corporations on strategies to engage men and boys in promoting gender equality. In 2017 he was named by Apolitical as one of the 20 most influential people in gender policy around the world. He is an Ashoka Fellow and received the Voices of Solidarity Award from Vital Voices for his work to engage men for gender equality. He holds a PhD in Developmental Psychology.