Engaging men and boys to transform social norms
Hand in Hand International is putting transformative male engagement strategies to the test, incorporating in their traditional livelihoods training in Tanzania the findings of a research study led by the International Center for Research on Women. The goal is to train 600 women to create and manage their own enterprises, while also changing the attitudes that stopped them from earning an income in the first place. To that end, 300 men – the same women’s husbands, fathers and brothers – will simultaneously undergo livelihoods training of their own while receiving gender-specific coaching focused on shifting their perceptions and attitudes about women’s role in income generation and domestic labour.
Meaningful engagement with men and boys is increasingly recognised as critical not only for empowering women, but also more generally for transforming social and gender norms that reinforce patriarchy and harm men and women alike. Evidence-based strategies to engage boys and men are growing but still very limited. To help fill this gap, we funded the research study “Gender equity and male engagement: it only works when everyone plays”, conducted and published by the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW).
Applying the findings of this research, Hand in Hand International is putting gender transformative male engagement strategies to the test, incorporating them in their traditional livelihoods training in Tanzania. Our partner Women for Women international is conducting a parallel field trial in Rwanda.
Empowering women entrepreneurs is a process – centred on business, vocational and life skills training – that helps women take control of their finances and speak up and be heard in the home.
The Hand in Hand programme aims to train 600 women to create and manage their own enterprises while changing the attitudes that stopped them from earning an income in the first place.
300 women will receive the usual Hand in Hand livelihoods training together with dedicated training in women’s economic empowerment.
The programme includes the creation of self-help groups, business creation and development training, the provision of credit or working capital to help get the businesses off the ground, and the establishment of market links. The group members will learn new attitudes, skills and behaviours at every step in the journey.
300 men will also be selected – the same women’s husbands, fathers and brothers – to undergo livelihoods training of their own. Just like their female counterparts, the men will also receive gender-specific training developed in partnership with ICRW. But here, the focus will be squarely on shifting their perceptions and attitudes about women’s role in income generation – and their own in domestic labour.
To increase the validity of the results, Hand in Hand will recruit a control group of 300 women who receive livelihoods training only.
For the women, a 20% increase in net household income is expected, along with marked increases in decision-making and economic mobility. For the men, a tangible change in perceptions and behaviours is expected, including support for women’s enterprises and more time spent on domestic labour.
The lessons learnt upon completion of the programme will feed into a male engagement toolkit being developed by ICRW that will be shared sector-wide.