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Although the rationale for involving men in violence against women programs is sound, the tendency in development theories and practice to de-politicise feminist analysis of gender relations and male violence against women means that programs which involve men cannot realise their full potential.
Examining the roles men have to play in violence against women programs within the international development context, I have conducted qualitative studies in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Timor Leste, with 184 interviews held with men and women from local communities, NGOs, donors, and government agencies.
The findings show that the current practice of prioritise short-term displays of male activism, instead of focussing on the structural causes of male violence against women. When winning men’s “hearts and minds” to participate in violence against women programs, it is important not to reinforce traditional gender roles of men as protectors and guardians of women’s safety.
Joyce Wu is a PhD candidate at RegNet who recently submitted her PhD thesis. She is a lecturer in International Studies Programme at the University of Canberra, and her previous work experiences include UN Women, AusAID, and women’s NGOs.