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Men’s role towards women’s rights highlighted

Highlighting positive role of men for women’s rights, the experts at a research launch has emphasised on understanding the notions of masculinity to change men’s behaviour towards women. The experts were discussing at a joint research launch on “Locating Men in Women Rights Activism” jointly organised by Rozan and Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here on Monday.

The seminar held to discuss involvement of men in gender activism and issues related to women’s rights. The study captured stories of 5 men who took affirmative actions against sexual violence against men, women and transgender persons in the context of Pakistan. Sadia Sahrif from SDPI moderated the proceedings while Safillulah Khan from Rozan explained research methodology with participants.

Sharing the findings of study, Maria Rasheed from Rozan said that masculinity is a complex terrain where Men’s lives and gendered experiences have exhibited contradictions. She said violence in the lives of men, both by witnessing and experiencing at the hands of another man, seems to be a common influence in shaping and motivating his actions. “The study speaks of unstable nature of masculine identities and power relationships where motivations for actions against sexual violence are not clearly pointed out,” she added.

She highlighted the Men’s behaviour that how men’s distancing from pain – physical and emotional – feeds into masculinities shaped by tribes, sectarian groups, whereby men’s role are seen as essential to protect weaker groups, identities, and land. Discussing the study, Gender expert, Dr Yasmin Zaidi, said that the study offers thought provoking insight on inner workings of real men. She said the Men are too often portrayed as sole oppressor, which silences the supportive character where men are facilitating women in socio-political and economic sphere.

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