As part of our mission to support boys and men to live respectful, accountable and fulfilling lives free from violence and other harmful behaviour, we partner with schools to deliver evidence-based programs for students in years 5-12 that challenge harmful norms about gender.
About our engagement with schools
We know that adolescents often feel pressure to behave in a certain way. For boys, this is often about conforming to masculine stereotypes. We also know that boys (and girls!) who agree with these stereotypes are more likely to engage in harmful behaviours and have poor wellbeing, including:
- Perpetrating bullying
- Performing poorly in school
- Being involved in physical violence
- Abusing drugs and alcohol
- Engaging in risky behaviours
- Having poor mental health, and
- In the case of adolescent boys, engaging in sexual harassment.
Our values and approach
The Men’s Project approaches this work with a curious mind. Everyone can play a role in creating safe, respectful and accountable communities by questioning ingrained notions about gender.
We do not take a ‘blame and shame’ approach: we are all in this together, and subject to similar messages from society, and we all deserve to be treated with dignity and compassion.
We create safe and welcoming spaces where people feel safe and supported. We also encourage everyone to develop greater self-awareness through reflection, supported by our skilled facilitators.
We regularly refine our programs to reflect the most up-to-date research about what works to create gender equality and reduce the use of violence and other harmful behaviours.
Our programs for schools
Our evidence-based programs challenge harmful norms about gender in order to improve wellbeing, behaviour and safety. Our resources and workshops have been designed to align with the Victorian Resilience, Rights & Respectful Relationships Curriculum.
Our workshops for students, staff, parents and school leaders introduce participants to the pressures boys and men can feel to behave a certain way, the impacts of these pressures, and how to move away from harmful attitudes and behaviours. Versions of these workshops have been developed for each year level, and we also provide workshops for school staff and parents.
The ‘Man Box’
This workshop introduces participants to research on the pressures boys and men feel to behave a certain way, and the impact this has on health, behaviour, and life outcomes.
This workshop also brings awareness to habits and language that perpetuate harmful gender stereotypes, and supports participants to begin to notice how gender stereotypes affect their own lives.
Healthier alternatives to the ‘Man Box’
Participants in this workshop will learn about healthier alternatives to the ‘Man Box’. Participants are given tips and strategies to help them move away from the rigidity and harms of the ‘Man Box’ by basing their attitudes on their personal values rather than societal pressures to act a certain way.
Taking action in the ‘moments that matter’
The goal of this workshop is to give people the skills and confidence they need to be positive role models. It supports them to speak up effectively and safely when they witness harmful ‘Man Box’ attitudes and behaviours, and offers practical tips and strategies to respond during ‘moments that matter’.
Leading change (120 mins)
This workshop provides student leaders with the chance to understand the ‘Man Box’ and the societal pressures that boys and men face through the lens of student leadership. It allows student leaders to reflect on how they can lead change in their school to break free from the ‘Man Box’.
Our unit ‘pursing healthier identities’ is an interactive and engaging 10-week unit that looks at gender stereotypes, emotions, relationships and character strengths. The unit includes lesson plans with teacher instructions and examples, PowerPoint slides, and a student workbook. We provide staff training and ongoing support to ensure staff can deliver these lessons effectively.
Survey of students’ beliefs and related behaviours about gender
Our ‘Adolescent Man Box’ research survey provides insight into your students’ wellbeing, and reveals how wellbeing is impacted by the pressures students feel to conform to gender stereotypes. Survey results can then be used to tailor curricula and activities to address any challenges highlighted in the survey results.
Modelling Respect and Equality for schools and their community
Our Modelling Respect and Equality program is designed for school staff with a particular interest in role modelling healthier alternatives to the ‘Man Box’. It supports staff to deepen their understanding of what may be driving challenging student behaviour, and increases their knowledge, skills and confidence to lead change.