The Commission on the Status of Women held a panel discussion on the active involvement of males in achieving gender equality. Kristin Hetle delivered an opening speech framing the difficulties in attaining equality. Often, gender-based violence (GBV) is considered the only hurdle left. Hetle asserted that, though violence is a serious matter, gender equality requires a more nuanced solution. It is crucial to target harmful underlying mentalities. In her home country of Norway, a university conducted a study in which participants were asked to choose between equally qualified male and female job candidates. Participants of both genders considered the male candidate as more qualified. Based on this, Hetle argued that our society is still subconsciously subject to gender inequality. She asked for men to not be silent bystanders to gender inequality.
Professor Hashimoto spoke briefly on the state of GBV in Japan, a country with notable levels of domestic violence. Luckily, there is significant progress0–more and more women report to domestic violence centers and do not suffer the blame for their abuse. However, Japan suffers from insufficient legal measures to rein in the sex industry, an area in which underage females may be at risk.
A representative from DIRE, a network of Italian equality organizations, asked whether gender-balanced panels were discriminatory for prioritizing gender over knowledge. She also asked about education practices used to instill values of gender equality. To answer, Sasdamoiden stated that, at least in the EU, there are consistent structural issues present in choosing panels, and skill is overshadowed by biases that see men as being more qualified than women. Gender-balanced panels thus adjust for this.
Meeting: #thingsmendo: Men and Boys against Gender Stereotypes and Violence against Women
Sponsor: Commission on the Status of Women (NGO CSW)
Date & Location: 11 March 2015, Conference Room 11, UN Headquarters, New York
Speakers: Kristin Hetle, UN Director of Strategic Partnerships for Women; Giovanna Martelli, Gender Equality Advisor to the Prime Minister of Italy; Hiroko Hashimoto, Professor of Women’s Studies at Jumonji University; Polish Plenipotentiary on the Equal Status of Women; Sala Sasdamoiden, Representative of European Commission’s Gender Equality Strategy
Written By WIT Representative: Alis Yoo
Edited by WIT Representative: Philip Bracey