United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women

Commission on the Status of Women
48th Session

"The role of men and boys in achieving gender equality"

In accordance with its multi-year programme of work, the Commission considered two thematic issues at its 48th session, in addition to a number of other topics and items that are regularly on its agenda. Consideration of the thematic issues is the core of the Commission's annual work, and a critical contribution to the systematic follow-up to the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome document of the 23rd special session of the General Assembly. Focusing on selected topics allows the Commission to strengthen and accelerate implementation of the recommendations in these documents, to further refine the global policy framework for gender equality as it relates to the themes, and to ensure practical action at all levels. It is also an opportunity to reinforce links between implementation of these gender-specific instruments and other global policy instruments, such as the Millennium Declaration, and Security Council resolution 1325 on women, peace and security.

The first topic considered by the Commission in its 48th session addressedthe role of men and boys in achieving gender equality.

The Division for the Advancement of Women convened an online discussion and an expert group meeting to support the preparations on this topic. The online discussion engaged over 300 participants from 70 countries to discuss the role of men and boys in achieving gender equality. More than 80 substantive postings were made by activists, practitioners and researchers, from 28 different countries.

In collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Division for the Advancement of Women held an expert group meeting from 21 to 24 October 2003, generously hosted by the Government of Brazil.

The report of the online discussion and the report of the expert group meeting provided essential input for the Secretary-General's report (E/CN.6/2004/9). The report of the Secretary-General provided an overview of the role of men and boys in achieving gender equality. It specifically focused on socialization and education; and the role of men and boys in achieving gender equality in the labour market and the workplace; in sharing of family responsibilities, including caring roles; and in preventing HIV/AIDS. It emphasized that men can bring about change in attitudes, roles, relationships and access to resources and decision-making which are critical for achieving equality between women and men. It underlined the need for men to be actively involved in developing and implementing legislation and policies that foster gender equality, and in providing positive role models for other men to promote gender equality.

Consideration of the thematic issue "The Role of Men and Boys in Achieving Gender Equality" was further enriched by the panel discussion that took place on Tuesday 2 March 2004.


Division for the Advancement of Women -- DAW

Website: http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/
Department of Economic and Social Affairs
United Nations