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For schools


The Men’s Project at Jesuit Social Services has developed engaging learning sessions for your students and teachers.

Topics include The Man Box research, highlighting the negative health outcomes for adolescent boys that live by the Man Box rules, healthier masculinities and relationships, emotional intelligence, stress reduction, and bystander activation. These sessions have been designed to align with the Victorian Resilience, Rights & Respectful Relationships Curriculum although they also have relevance outside Victoria.

Through these sessions, The Men’s Project will take a restorative and strengths-based approach that promotes reflection and energetic discussions between students, school staff and facilitators at The Men’s Project.

Get in touch with The Men’s Project at themensproject@jss.org.au if you’d like more details or would like to discuss how The Men’s Project could support your school community.

Modelling of Respect and Equality (MoRE)

The Men’s Project can tailor co-facilitated workshops for staff and/or students that draw on The Man Box research, our Modelling Respect and Equality Program as well as speakers from our Just Voices program. To engage staff and/or students and promote learning, the workshops include interactive activities and draw on different types of knowledge including lived experience.

The messages delivered during workshops can be adapted depending on the contexts and objectives that we will identify in partnership with your school leadership. For example, at schools we have presented to students about The Man Box and vulnerability. The messages and activities raised self-awareness around habits/preconceptions related to masculinities as well as highlighting that change can be driven by everyone.

Just Voices Speakers Program

The Just Voices Speakers Program is a Jesuit Social Services program that brings inspiring speakers from diverse backgrounds, communities and cultures to classrooms, workplaces, community and church groups, public events and festivals.

The Men’s Project collaborates with Just Voices to raise awareness, start conversations, and promote positive behaviour change around issues of masculinity in our society.

With this approach speakers from diverse backgrounds can speak authentically of their lived experience, for example as someone who has experienced family violence, had body issues or mental health problems, or has not fit in the traditional masculine stereotypes. This has proven to be extremely powerful and engaging for audiences.

Before it Starts

Most boys grow up to be productive, healthy and responsible members of society.

But some boys drop out of school early. Their family relationships are dysfunctional. They fall in with the wrong crowd. And they end up in trouble.

They cycle in and out of crisis services and the justice system, at immense costs. And as adult men some of them end up being responsible for the most horrific crimes – murders, violence, and acts of extremism.

While we are learning more about the pathways these boys take to end up at the margins of society, our current responses are too often inadequate or too late.

There is a need to develop new ways to identify those at risk between the ages of 8-14 and to support them to remain in school and out of trouble. Present practice is that intervention programs of this nature only begin when boys already are in trouble. Often this is too late. The Men’s Project will focus on these boys Before It Starts.

We will lead work to identify, understand and respond to boys aged 8-14 before the first signs of trouble often present.

Parents tip sheet

The Men’s Project recently collaborated with leading girls’ rights agency Plan International Australia and Promundo, a global leader in engaging men and boys in promoting gender equality and preventing violence, to produce a guide for parents to help boys embrace healthy, positive masculinity.

The guide offers parents nine simple, practical tips to talk to their sons about healthy masculinity, and encourage positive beliefs and behaviours from an early age, including: how parents can use play to define positive values, challenge gender stereotypes, be clear about consent and more.

Nine ways to encourage healthy masculinity

  1. Encourage personal expression with toys. Introduce boys to a range of toys and activities, including those that are ‘gender neutral’ and thought of as ‘for girls’.
  2. Use play to define positive values. Show through role play that being able to express a range of emotions, including being afraid, or compassionate and caring is positive for both boys and girls.
  3. Challenge harmful stereotypes around clothes. Encourage boys to be their authentic selves by allowing them to experiment with fashion and self expression.
  4. Be clear about consent. Let boys know they have to ask permission to touch others, and they have the right to say no if they don’t want to be touched.
  5. Find media with good role models. Choose books, TV shows and media that break gender norms by showing boys and girls who have interests and emotions that challenge stereotypes.
  6. Speak up when you hear disrespect. If family or friends say something problematic around your son, speak up in that moment and have a conversation about values.
  7. Find positive role models. Identify role models in your family, community or media who demonstrate healthy, respectful ways to be a boy or man.
  8. Talk the talk. Help boys feel supported that they won’t be judged for sharing their concerns or fears, and encourage them to empathise and connect with others.
  9. Walk the walk. Challenge your own perceptions of gender roles and model behaviours you want to encourage.

Download the tip sheet Raising sons to embrace healthy, positive masculinity.