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#HeForShe: Involving Men in Advocacy for Gender Equality

October 8th, 2014

By Claire Bernstein, JCADA AWARE® Educator, and Erynn Penn, JCADA Intern

Who should be involved in the fight for gender equality? Should men, women, or both care about this issue?


Last month, Emma Watson provided her answers to these questions when she spoke at the United Nations about the launch of a new campaign for gender equality, HeForShe. In her speech, Watson explained that the goal of this campaign is “to try and galvanize as many men and boys as possible to be advocates for gender equality.”

Directing her message to a male audience, Watson stated, “Men—I would like to take this opportunity to extend your formal invitation. Gender equality is your issue too.” Since then, her speech has stimulated conversations worldwide about the importance of including men in education and advocacy efforts about women’s rights, gender equality, and violence against women. In addition, the recent spotlight on the NFL and its handling of cases of domestic violence has prompted some people to highlight how both male and female athletes can be involved in helping to end domestic violence.

For our AWARE® workshops, we include young men and boys in our programs because we agree with Watson’s message and believe in the power of both men and women to end dating violence and promote healthy relationships. In order to create social change, everyone needs to be educated about how dating abuse and unhealthy friendships impact individuals and our society.

In our workshop, It’s Not Love, we teach both boys and girls how to recognize the signs of dating abuse and how to speak up when they are concerned about a friend. Our new middle school workshop, #healthyfriendships, helps young boys and girls learn how to safely take a stand while navigating friendship issues. By teaching these messages, we are empowering both boys and girls to support victims of dating and domestic violence and encourage healthy friendships and relationships. It is powerful to see boys and girls talking together about important social issues and spreading positive messages about relationships.

Hopefully, the boys and girls who participate in our AWARE® workshops will continue to take the lessons they learn about dating abuse and friendship issues to join others and advocate for the right for all men and women to be able to live happy, healthy, and safe lives. Watson’s speech reminds us that by men and women joining together to address gender inequalities and violence against women, we can create a more united and powerful coalition to solve the social issues we are facing.

Read Emma Watson’s full speech here.


Posted by AWARE Team | Topic: In The News

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AWARE® is dedicated to empowering teens and young adults with the skills and information they need to build healthy relationships.
Email: aware@awarenow.org • Office: 301.315.8040 • Confidential Helpline: 877.885.2232