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The Other Side of the Equation:. Gender Issues for Men in the Europe and Eurasia Region December 15, 2011 by Susan D. Somach [email protected] Background, Methodology, Terminology Regional Trends on Male Role and Gender Expectations Threats to Masculinity and Male Role

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the other side of the equation

The Other Side of the Equation:

Gender Issues for Men in the Europe and Eurasia Region

December 15, 2011

by Susan D. Somach

[email protected]

Background, Methodology, Terminology

Regional Trends on Male Role and Gender Expectations

Threats to Masculinity and Male Role

Major Gender Issues Facing Men in the Region

regional trends on male role and gender expectations
Regional Trends on Male Role and Gender Expectations
  • Gender equality and the male role
    • Male as provider
    • Male as leader in private and public
    • Male as protector
    • Male as procreator
    • Male as doer of dirty and dangerous work
  • Geographic/Ethnic differences
threats real and perceived to masculinity male role
Threats (real and perceived) to Masculinity & Male Role
  • Loss of traditional functions
  • Changing labor market
  • Adapting to new labor market demands
  • Time on their hands
  • Loss of status
  • Changing view of marriage and father role
  • War and conflict
male response and impact on women
Male Response and Impact on Women
  • Stress, depression, and violence
  • Substance abuse
  • Migration for work
  • Emergence of hyper-masculinity and violence in times of conflict and its aftermath
  • Retreat into traditionalism of national identity and gender roles
major gender issues facing men in the region
Major Gender Issues Facing Men in the Region
  • Health Issues
  • Violence
  • Military service and ex-combatant status
  • Unemployment and concurrent lack of breadwinner status
  • Migration and trafficking in persons
  • Trends in education and training
health issues

Health Issues

Life expectancy statistics

Substance abuse – alcohol, tobacco, drugs

Depression and other psychological problems

Reproductive health and patterns of accessing health care

Unsafe working conditions

Unintentional Injuries (Youth Statistics)

health issues continued
Health Issues (continued)
  • Reproductive health and patterns of accessing health care
    • Need for andrologists
    • Confidentiality
  • Unsafe working conditions
    • “men only” job categories
    • Toxic chemicals


Statistics on Intentional Injuries

Gender-Based Sexual Violence

Mortality Due to Intentional InjuriesRate per 100,000 population (2004)(Age-Standardized Disability-adjusted Life Year (DALY))
Mortality Due to Self-Inflicted Injuries Rate per 100,000 population (2004)(Age-Standardized Disability-adjusted Life Year (DALY))
Mortality Due to Violence Rate per 100,000 population (2004)(Age-Standardized Disability-adjusted Life Year (DALY))
gender based sexual violence
Gender-based Sexual Violence
  • Under-reported and poorly understood
  • Epidemic of sexual violence against men in 25 conflicts around the world
  • For boys in streets, schools and youth detention centers; and for both men and boys in IDP and refugee centers
  • Barriers to identification as a crime, and to meeting physical and psychological rehabilitation needs
military service and ex combatant status

Military Service and Ex-Combatant Status

Impact of Conflicts and Wars on Men

Ex-Combatant Status

Military Service

impact of conflicts and wars on men
Impact of Conflicts and Wars on Men
  • Forced conscription and forced return
  • “Preemptive” execution
  • Prison camps and torture
  • “Open secret” of sexual assault on men
  • Human rights abuses of men minimized
    • Gender bias of human rights protection gatekeepers
    • Viewed as “natural” victims of conflict
    • Invisible in media discourse
    • Early warning of worse yet to come
ex combatant status
Ex-Combatant Status
  • Many conflicts in the region:
    • Chechnya-Ingushetia-Dagestan region of Russia; Georgia-Abkhazia-South Ossetia region; Nagorno-Karabakh region (Armenia and Azerbaijan); Transnistria region of Moldova; Former Yugoslavia
  • Physical and psychological impact of male survivors buried in stoicism, substance abuse
  • Gender tracks for reintegration programs
  • Demobilization – unlearning wartime behavior and learning peacetime skills
military service
Military Service
  • Voluntary and forced conscription
  • Bad living conditions
  • Hazing (dedovshchina in Russia)
  • Smoking and drug habits
  • Benefits of skills, self-discipline and networking
  • “Boys will be boys” issue in reintegration
  • PTSD and other psychological effects
unemployment and concurrent lack of breadwinner status

Unemployment and Concurrent Lack of Breadwinner Status

Unemployment Statistics

Youth Unemployment Statistics

Migration and Trafficking in Persons

migration and trafficking in persons
Migration and Trafficking in Persons
  • Response to chronic high unemployment and low wages in the region
  • Not viewed negatively because of remittances
  • Occupational health challenges due to unregulated workplaces
  • Many stressors for and abuses of labor migrants
  • Less likely to seek help or social services
  • TIP for men hidden due to chronic underreporting
  • Male TIP victims more often charged with immigration violations and deported as irregular migrants
trends in education and training

Trends in Education and Training

Early Education Statistics on Repeaters

Upper- and Post-Secondary Education Statistics

Anecdotal Reports on Training

Repeaters in Lower-Secondary Education (2009-2010; except LTU, SVK 2008-2009; MDA 2007-2008; and CZE 2004-2005)
upper secondary enrollment general programs only 2009 2010 except svk 2008 2009
Upper Secondary Enrollment – General Programs Only (2009-2010; except SVK 2008-2009)


USAID Overarching Recommendations

USAID Programming

  • USAID Overarching Recommendations
    • General
    • Gender integration mechanisms
  • USAID Programming
    • Cross-cutting (more than one sector)
    • Health and Education
    • Economic Growth
    • Democracy and Conflict Mitigation

Recommendations in 3 categories: Men-specific programming, Integrated for both sexes, and Men as partners

usaid overarching recommendations general
USAID Overarching Recommendations - General
  • Include men in gender analysis and guidance.
  • ID and develop more resource materials about specific men’s gender issues in the region.
  • Expand use of men as partners and CME approaches beyond reproductive health sector.
  • Apply women and partners and constructive female engagement principles to new programs targeting men.
  • Develop more gender projects, not just “women’s projects”.
  • Recognize that gender equitable approaches will be needed to achieve gender equality in area of disparity affecting men.
  • Build men’s leadership in solving their own social problems.
usaid overarching recommendations continued
USAID Overarching Recommendations (continued)
  • Remember the cross-cutting nature of gender when working on youth programming.
  • Focus on alleviating gender disparities, rather than programming based on stereotypes.
  • Use comparative analysis of sex-disaggregated statistics and gender data in developing and monitoring of activities.

Gender Integration Mechanisms

  • Gender in a New Country Strategy
  • Gender-Sensitive Results Framework and PMP
  • Be Specific about Gender in Assessments and Surveys
usaid programming cross cutting
USAID Programming – Cross-cutting
  • Develop relevant reintegration services for ex-combatants and young men finishing military service.
  • Expand social services targeting men (e.g., substance abuse treatment, violence and anger management, positive parenting).
  • Integrate protocols for treatment and support of male victims into GBV services.
  • Promote a coordinated community response to DV and TIP that integrates male victims of all ages into protocols and training.
  • Partner with local gender experts and interested orgs to promote gender education programs for children, teens and adults.
usaid programming cross cutting continued
USAID Programming – Cross-cutting (continued)
  • Promote male involvement in projects addressing gender inequality andreducing VAW, and encourage men’s positive engagement as fathers and caregivers.
  • Collect epidemiological health data on chemical exposures that are sex-specific, especially concerning releases of POPs, heavy metals, and EDCs.
  • Work w/both men and women legislators to promote gender quality laws and implementation mechanisms.
  • Work with executive branch to include gender analysis in all technical analyses of laws and legislation.
health and education recommendations
Health and Education Recommendations


  • PHC – healthy lifestyle public awareness campaigns
  • Substance abuse – alcohol and drug substance abuse treatment and smoking cessation programs
  • PHC & RH – men’s health promotion activities; men’s health specialists (andrologists); reproductive health and urology; men’s mental health needs; GBV against men and boys
  • Health Education – young men’s health, relationship skills, and gender equality
  • Vocational Training – employment training and job placement for migrating men and those at risk for migration; men sharing household work
  • Secondary Education – high school dropout rates for boys
health and education recommendations continued
Health and Education Recommendations (continued)

Integrated for both sexes

  • PHC Reform – health care needs of men and placement of andrologists
  • RH – reproductive health of men and male infertility
  • HIV/AIDS and TB – MARPs targeting of both sexes
  • Secondary Education – school-based GBV
  • Vocational Training – non-traditional vocations
  • Men as partners
  • RH – integrate CME principles in all RH programs, and TB and HIV prevention and treatment
economic growth recommendations
Economic Growth Recommendations


  • Microfinance – microfinance lending for (a) migrating men, (b) unemployed men at risk for migration, (c) young men at risk for criminality and (d) any other identified target group
  • Economic Policy/Business Development – workplace safety (in environmental, labor union, WTO accession and oil & gas project activities)
economic growth recommendations continued
Economic Growth Recommendations (continued)

Integrated for both sexes

  • Economic/Public Policy – separate government budgeting to address men’s social issues

Men as partners

  • Microfinance – men spouses of women microfinance clients re (a) perceived threats to manhood, (b) men’s own opportunities, (c) emotional and household labor support to successful women entrepreneurs
  • Business Associations – men business owners to network with women business owners
democracy and conflict mitigation recommendations
Democracy and Conflict Mitigation Recommendations


  • Civil Society – substance abuse self-help groups
  • Human Rights – surveillance mechanisms for human rights violations of GBV such as (a) hate crimes against men, (b) DV,(c) TIP, (d) military hazing, and sexual violence

Integrated for both sexes

  • Peace Building – alliances in post-conflict peace-building and pre-war conflict mitigation
  • Civil Society Advocacy – reform of military hazing
  • Rule of Law/ Human Rights – human rights clinics and groups, GBV against men and boys, including IDPs and refugees
democracy and conflict mitigation recommendations continued
Democracy and Conflict Mitigation Recommendations (continued)

Men as partners

  • Women’s Political Participation – quota laws; women in political positions
  • Civil Society/Women’s Rights – civil society activities in health, education and social sectors; men against violence against women
closing thoughts
Closing Thoughts
  • I would like to dedicate this paper to the men in my life who helped me realize that men and boys everywhere have struggles of their own based on the gender box in which society tries to put them. Together, we can be partners in addressing the gender issues faced by women and by men, by girls and by boys – and in seeking true gender equality that will benefit us all.