Understanding masculinities and critically engaging male champions for peacebuilding in Myanmar
This project improved understanding of how social expectations on men and boys affect their engagement in conflict, violence and peacebuilding in Myanmar. It also demonstrated how men can be both enablers and barriers to women’s involvement in peacebuilding.
While there is increasing awareness that gender is important in understanding conflict and peacebuilding, in practice this has often translated into programming focussed entirely on women and girls. The experience of men and boys is less well understood.
Our research analysed conflict, armed actors and peacebuilding efforts in the country from a gender perspective, considering the different impacts of conflict on women, men and those with diverse sexual orientations and gender identities. We also looked at the implications of masculinities for gender and social conflict.
We held five trainings with over 100 local civil society members about the relationship between gender, peace and security, and how men and women are affected differently by conflict. The trainings created a space for participants to discuss their experiences of gender and gain new perspectives about the importance of gender in conflict.
Before our trainings, participants rated their understanding of gender, peace and security as very low, low or medium. Afterwards, they described it as high or excellent, with only one person saying it was medium. The participants committed to sharing the discussions with their organisations and set plans to broaden the integration of gender in their daily work.
We also held four roundtable discussions with local political leaders about gender, which were a breakthrough moment for the male leaders in talking about and reflecting on their own gender identities and how they will raise their sons.
This project was focused on the areas of Yangon, southern Shan state and Tanintharyi region. It ran from March 2017 to December 2018.