Gender base violence doesn’t exist?
Women cannot achieve gender equality and sexual and reproductive health without the cooperation and participation of men. It is men who usually decide on the number and variety of sexual relationships, timing and frequency of sexual activity and use of contraceptives, sometimes through coercion or violence. The ‘feminization’ of the AIDS pandemic is a sad reminder that in many places women do not have the power to protect their own health. Why should they be controlled by the opposite sex? Whoever said that women cannot make the decisions of this country? Clearly, men need to be involved if gender equality is to be achieved and reproductive health programmes are to succeed. Some research shows that men also want to be involved, and that many welcome the idea of mutually satisfying relationships built on trust and communication.
Towards this end, many programmes seek to increase men’s sense of ownership over new initiatives that promote gender equity, equality and women’s empowerment. They aim to increase men’s comfort with seeing themselves as responsible, caring, and non-violent partners. They also recognize the diversity of men’s reproductive and sexual health needs, including those of young men, and those who are economically displaced. Many grow up to believe that dominant behavior towards girls and women is part of being a man. These stereotypes result in harm on both men and women and erode the possibilities of establishing a satisfying and enjoyable mutually respectful relationship. Ideally boys and young men are encouraged to reflect upon and discuss issues surrounding masculinity relationships and sexuality. This can be harmful to a healthy lifestyle and good attitude. Effective programmes also recognize that gender roles and relations are dependent on social contexts in which cultural, religious, economic, political and social circumstances are intertwined. They are based on the idea that gender relations are not static and can be changed. Clearly, men need to be involved if gender equality is to be achieved and reproductive health programmes are to succeed. Some research shows that men also want to be involved, and that many welcome the idea of mutually satisfying relationships built on trust and communication. All young people whether male or female should be treated equally not minding whatever perception is placed on the female gender.