(Left to Right) Guest presenter, Patrick Prendergast speaks with Gender Consultant Linnette Vassell and UNAIDS Caribbean Regional Human Rights & Gender Equality Advisor, Otilia St. Charles.

2) Dialogue on Men, Masculinities & Gender Based Violence

This session, organized by the Gender Focal Team (GFT) to contribute to the discussions around the National Strategic Plan against GBV and to move beyond the sharing among CO personnel to include a wider external stakeholder group including representatives of other UN Agencies namely UNFPA and UNAIDS and civil society organisations. Presentation from the host UNDP, by partners from the State- through the Bureau of Gender Affairs – and from academia, represented by the Institute for Gender and Development Studies of the University of the West Indies and the Western Campus of that same institution, elicited thoughtful comments and engaging discussions on the three issues covered by presenters:

-         Gender Mainstreaming: A Policy Imperative for Sustainable Development presented by Ms. Sharon Robinson, Director of the Bureau of Gender Affairs

-         Understanding Man in the Jamaican Context by Mr. Patrick Prendergast Actg. Director of the UWI Mona Western Jamaica Campus

-         Gender and Sustainable Goals: The Benefits for Everyone, presented by Dr. Annecka Marshall of the Institute for Gender and Development Studies, Mona Unit, UWI.

Comments were wide ranging on all the issues, for example:

-          Clarification/ explanation by the UNDP on the plan to take the gender seal certification process to the public, civil society and private sector organisations.

-         The importance of examining and responding to the seeming paradox of “men operating from a position of power”  as “ perpetuators of gender based violence”, are  also “victims of something”.

-         Many men live with “trauma “of seeing violence against women and are “trapped by socialization” and therefore not doing anything about it.

-         The need to explore the causal link between abuse by women of boys and how as young men they respond in a “new trend of aggressiveness”.

-         Abuse as a legacy of societies bred in violence through enslavement and how this reflects complexities of male and female identities.

-         The need to encourage more dialogue about the experience of both men and women with GBV.

-         The importance as well as the challenge of making contact with and having conversations with men.

-         That the goal of our engagements is to promote equitable, loving, sharing and respectful relations.

-         Gender equality as a key aspect of accountability and transparency- and SDG goal 5 “a recognition of women’s agency for human rights fulfilment”.

-         The need for ‘progressive activism’ to achieve the human development that we hope for.

Participants expressed the hope that more dialogues could be held in order to shape a broader level of consciousness and engagement around critical development issues, especially the matter of engaging men and boys in the struggles for gender equality and women’s rights.

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