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About 40 specialists on gender equality from Armenia outlined the best mechanisms for men's engagement in family care and gender-based violence prevention during the "Engaging Men and Boys for Gender Equality" workshop held on 2 and 3 April, 2022, by UNFPA Armenia and Promundo US. The discussion was facilitated by Patrick Welsh, Promundo-US expert on gender issues. 

Participants of the workshop had an opportunity to deepen their knowledge of the social structure of hegemonic masculinity and its impacts on sexual and reproductive health and gender equality.

"Gender equality and women's rights programs in Armenia have aspired to work with women․ We tried to empower women but working with men was left out of sight. At the end of this workshop, I hope we will better understand ​​the strategies for engaging men and applying them in the future," said Tsovinar Harutyunyan, Head of the UNFPA Armenia office. 

Gender equality experts brought together by the workshop discussed responsible fatherhood and the importance of an equal sharing of responsibilities in the family. 

"Engaging men and boys in women and child health issues, involving them in preventing violence against women, and in responsible fatherhood, demand great efforts and work from the individual to the structural level. It is vital to challenge and change social norms damaging women and children. All comes down to fostering environments where men are aware of how gender roles or gender stereotypes affect their life, and how to change that to make life more equitable," said Patrick Welsh.

"We need to learn the international experience and approaches for adapting them to gender equality programs while also considering the context of Armenia, traditions, and the existing stereotypes. It is essential to hold discussions among specialists to develop prospective, long-term solutions," said Armen Melkonyan, Head of the International Relations Department of the Ministry of Health.

The participants had the opportunity to discuss practical approaches and methodologies for engaging men and boys to enable them to develop and implement future initiatives in the area of gender equality.

"We didn't have any projects devoted to men's engagement yet, so organizing such workshops in Armenia is imperative. Before initiating our activities, it is useful to get familiarized with the international experience and know what has succeeded and what has not in order to apply the best one in our country," said Arman Gharibyan, Human Rights Power NGO Chairman.

The UNFPA Armenia organized the workshop in the framework of the EU-funded "FUTURE TODAY: Empowering women, youth and children for deepening democracy in Armenia" Project and "EU 4 Gender Equality: Together against gender stereotypes and gender-based violence" regional programme.

This publication was produced with the financial support of the European Union within the framework of the "EU 4 Gender Equality: Together against gender stereotypes and gender-based violence" programme, funded by the European Union and implemented jointly by UN Women and UNFPA. Its contents are the sole responsibility of UNFPA and UN Women and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.

Mari Mkhitaryan/UNFPA Armenia

Photos by UNFPA Armenia