Saturday, 23 January 2021

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Barbershop at the UN: Men talk to men about women


29 October 2014. What do Iceland and Surinam have in common? Perhaps not that many things, given their different geographical positions in respectively Western-Europe and South-America. Sadly, however, one of their shared concerns is violence against women.

IcelandThe two states´ respective delegations at the United Nations have joined forces on an original idea: to organize a so called Barbershop conference, where men discuss with men on such issues as masculinity and gender stereoptypes.

The conference, has been convened at UN Headquarters in January 2015 and will bring together experts and activists as well as representatives of UN Member States.
“The aim of the Barbershop Conference is to rally men and boys into a pro-active commitment to gender equality and at changing the discourse among men and boys,” says Ms.Gréta Gunnarsdóttir, the Permanent Representative of Iceland to the UN. Gréta Gunnarsdóttir

The upcoming conference has attracted attention for the focus on man and has been dubbed “a men only” conference.

“The idea is to provide a setting for men-to-men discussions about their own role and behaviors in realizing women´s rights and ending violence against women,” explains Ambassador Gunnarsdóttir.

“Progress towards gender equality is being held back by unequal power relations between men and women. Overcoming this barrier requires not only laws and policies, it also requires a change in attitudes and behavior. For this to happen, men need to discuss with other men, masculinity, gender stereotypes, and their own responsibilities to realize gender equality and women´s rights. The Barbershop Conference will provide a forum for such a discussion.”

Beijing20UNWMastheaden gifThe Barbershop Conference will take place in the lead-up to the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (Beijing+20). It will be anchored in the Beijing+20 campaign “Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture it!” that aims at creating broad political and social support for accelerated implementation of the gender equality agenda.

hefeforsheThe conference will also be a contribution to HeForShe, a campaign aiming at engaging men and boys as advocates and agents of change for the achievement of gender equality and women’s rights. Over the next 12 months until September 2015, HeForShe will focus on bringing together one half of humanity in support of the other half for the benefit of all.

The Barbershop conference will take place shortly after the 2nd Global Symposium on Men and Boys, to be held in November 2014 in New Delhi, India. As such, it will provide a platform to share the Symposium’s outcome with New York-based Permanent Missions and organizations.

Photos: Main photo: Flickr / Peter Worsley / 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0) Photo from Iceland :  Moyan Brenn  Flickr Amassador Gréta Gunnarsdóttir: UN Photo. 

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