NEW YORK (WOMENSENEWS)–The call for male allies in the push for gender equality and to eradicate violence against women is nothing new, but it has been amplified over the past year with multiple campaigns, national and international, asking men to speak up for women’s rights.
One of the more well-known efforts is UN Women’s HeForShe campaign, which asks men to take a stand for women’s rights and was launched last year by the actress Emma Watson.
"We demand that these good men, because there are good men out there, not to just be silent bystanders," said Kristin Hetle, from UN Women, during a U.N. panel on March 11 called "#thingsmendo: Men and boys against gender stereotypes and violence against women." "Men have to realize that for women to hold more seats, men will have to hold fewer seats."
The panel was one of the numerous side events accompanying the annual Commission on the Status of Women, taking place March 9 -20 in New York City.
Several personalities have already joined the HeForShe movement, including U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, President Barack Obama and actor Matt Damon.
MSNBC anchor Richard Lui, who moderated the panel, has also joined the campaign. "I have become the gender guy in some spaces," Lui said when Women’s eNews asked him what he does for women. "I have a sister, I have a mother, I have nieces and these are all realities."
Lui, a spokesperson for HeForShe, is also an ambassador for Because I am a girl, a global movement to empower girls and end gender discrimination, and Not For Sale, a San-Francisco based campaign fighting modern-day slavery.
During the panel, an Italian initiative, "FIVE MEN-Fight Violence Against woMEN," was highlighted. The awareness-raising campaign, launched three months ago and financed by the European Commission, consists of a web series entitled "#thingsmendo."
The campaign also plans to screen the web series in different cities in Italy, in hopes of starting a dialogue with men about ending gender stereotypes and violence against women. Italian women’s rights activists present in the room all agreed that gender stereotypes are deeply enshrined in Italian culture, fostering a patriarchal society.
In the lead up to the events this week, a march for gender equality and women’s rights on March 8 marked International Women’s Day. During the march, Women’s eNews surveyed a few men to ask them what things they and other men should do to help gender equality and eliminate violence against women:
Many men have also traveled from abroad to attend the events related to the international Commission on the Status of Women. Women’s eNews asked some of these men about the main issues women face in their respective countries:
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