Jesuit Social Services was pleased to contribute a submission to the Victorian Government’s Gender Equality Strategy 2022. We support the proposed strategy, and additionally recommend it engages with men and boys to role model positive masculinity, in order to advance gender equality.
In October 2021 Jesuit Social Services contributed a submission to the Victorian Government’s draft Gender Equality Strategy 2022. Our submission draws on our experience of working with boys and men for over 40 years and is grounded in our frontline understanding of the drivers of gender inequality.
On the whole, Jesuit Social Services supports the proposed strategy, particularly its whole-of-government approach and overarching commitment of targeted investment and reform to advance gender equality. In addition, we recommend the Government engages with men and boys, who can act as role models in advancing gender equality, and invest in more deeply understanding gender in the workplace.
Our submission addresses the key pillars of safety; health and wellbeing; and leadership and representation. We draw on our research into masculinity, The Man Box, to highlight how rigid gender norms contribute to violence, and the effect negative masculinity has on both men’s and women’s mental health. We similarly draw from our expertise in delivering workplace diversity programs to illustrate the barriers women face in participating at work.
Jesuit Social Services makes the following recommendations to the draft Gender Equality Strategy 2022:
- Include ‘engaging men and boys’ and ‘cultural change’ as key principles that underpin the refreshed strategy.
- Include specific strategies to engage role models in promoting healthy and positive expressions of masculinity.
- Prioritise funding for workforce capacity building to engage on issues related to the Man Box and promote and model respect and equality.
- Further invest in initiatives that promote female participation and leadership in workplaces, such as Jesuit Social Services’ Corporate Diversity Partnerships.
- Invest in research to better understand the behaviours and attitudes of men and boys in relation to The Man Box norms including links to violence.
- Provide long term funding and commitment to primary prevention in raising awareness of and shifting harmful gender stereotypes.
- Read the submission to Victoria’s Gender Equality Strategy 2022
- Learn more about Jesuit Social Services’ work with men and boys