MenUnited - Men United for Gender Justice
Engaging men and boys for gender equality and women empowerment in Nigeria
Men United for Gender Justice (MenUnited) is an initiative by AFRILAW to work with and engaging men and boys to end violence against women and girls and promote gender equality and women empowerment in Nigeria.
MenUnited is hosted by the African Law Foundation (AFRILAW), Enugu. It was founded in March, 2015 by the Founder/President of the AFRILAW, Mr. Okereke Chinwike, as a network of male activists of civil society organisations working for gender equality and child rights protection in the Enugu State. African Law Foundation (AFRILAW) is an organisational member of the Men Engaged for Global Alliance since 2013.
We envision a just and equitable world for all men and women.
To work in partnership with women and girls to engage men and boys in advancing gender equality and women empowerment, preventing violence against women and children and promoting healthy masculinities and well-being of men and boys for a better and equitable society.
Our Core Values
- Human Rights and Justice
- Mutual Respect and Caring
- Equality and Equity
- Education and Empowerment
- Social Change and Transformation
- Integrity and Accountability
Our Strategic Objectives
In line with our vision and mission and in partnership with women and girls, our strategic objectives include:
Challenging Social Norms
We challenge rigid gender stereotypes and inequitable ideas, discriminatory and harmful social norms that perpetuate gender inequalities, social exclusion and disempowerment for women and girls.
Advancing Healthy Relationships and Equitable Attitudes and Behaviours
We promote behavioral change and positive masculinities, sexual and reproductive health, active caregiving and involved fatherhood among men and boys.
Preventing gender-based violence and violence against children
We motivate men and boys to live non-violent life, shun violence and protest against violence against women and children, support survivors of violence and serve as agents of change in gender relations.
Improving legal empowerment of women and girls
We promote and protect women’s human rights and facilitate access to justice for women’s human rights violations to poor and vulnerable women and girls
Programme Focus Areas
- Gender Equality and Equity
- Governance, Women Empowerment and Social Inclusion
- Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights
- Violence against Women and Girls/Gender- Based Violence
- Human Rights and Access to Justice
- Children and Women’s Human Rights
- Family Life, Fatherhood and Caregiving
- Youth and Development/ Masculinities
- Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development/SDGs
- Security, Peace Building and Conflict Resolution
Our Methods and Strategies
- Community Outreaches and Campaigns
- Legislative and Social Advocacy
- Trainings and Capacity-Building
- Research, Documentation and Publication
- Community Legal Aid and Paralegal Service
- Networking and Partnership Building
Why Engaging Men and Boys in Nigeria
Today, the major challenge facing Nigeria and the African continent, and the global community as a whole, is how to dismantle inequitable social expectations of women and men as well as the injustices that result from them. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) (2014) Nigeria is a highly inequitable country. That is to say, there is a high level of gender inequity existence in Nigeria. Women benefit less than men from, and have lower participation rates in the economy, education, politics, health, access to justice and almost all areas of human development. Such inequity has been found to be partly rooted in patriarchal beliefs and practices that promote the dominance of men – and subordination of women. It presents a series of social expectations which dictate the qualities, behaviours, characteristics, needs, and roles for men vis-à-vis women and people who contradict expectations are often criticised and even penalised.
Therefore in MenUnited, we believe that engaging men and boys to transform harmful gender norms and unequal power dynamics is a critical part of the solution to achieve gender equality and women empowerment in Nigeria. For the empowerment of women and girls to continue advancing, men and boys must see themselves as allies in the process. Men and boys also benefit when harmful norms are challenged.
We also believe that the inequitable ideas that underpin what it means to be a man and a woman in many societies don’t just impact on women, but have consequences for men, their relationships with women and their families. Research consistently shows that men’s behaviour – whether it is related to physical violence (in and outside the home), domestic work, caregiving, health-seeking behaviours, contraceptive use and HIV and STI prevention among others - tends to be influenced by their conformity with rigid and/or inequitable social norms traditionally tied to masculinity. In this regard, understanding men’s attitudes, their behaviours towards family, relationships and community life, as well as the underlying factors that prompt and support their dominance over women and girls, is very crucial in bringing about social change and transformation in Nigeria.
Furthermore, we are convinced that Nigerian men and boys need to recognize and take responsibility for their role in committing, allowing for, and/ or being complicit in acts of gender-based violence and promoting harmful norms and inequalities. They need to learn to take a more active role in efforts to end violence, challenge harmful norms and promote gender equitable attitudes and behaviours that ensure gender justice, and critically recognize that ending violence and promoting gender equality and women empowerment offers a variety of benefits for themselves, their families and society as a whole.
Notwithstanding that achieving gender equality and women empowerment and ending violence against women are goals that originated within the women’s movement. Many men and boys still think ending violence against women and achieving gender equality as “women’s issues”, but for MenUnited it is rather than parts of much broader concerns about human rights and social justice. This misconception keeps men and boys out of the spotlight and places the burden of responsibility on women and girls. In doing so, it also diverts attention away from analysing the roots of violence (i.e. men’s perception of masculinity / norms of society) and the role of violence and inequalities in maintaining an unequal power balance between men and women in Nigeria.
MenUnited focuses on youth and young people: Nigerian young men and boys form attitudes and behaviours towards women, relationships, sexuality and violence both before and during adolescence. Crucially, these ideas are often carried with them into adulthood. As a vital component of our prevention strategy, we will work with young men and boys and address them as change agents in their peer groups with the aims to promote gender equality and decrease violence against women and girls as well as to improve sexual and reproductive health.
MenUnited has its operational headquarter in Enugu State of Nigeria with a mandate to implement its programmes across Nigeria. Advisory Council of 4 reputable men and Executive Committee governs decision making of MenUnited. The National Coordinator heads the core of the day-to-day operations of the organisation.
Our Development Partner
Voices for Change (V4C) Programme of DFID/UKaid
Coalitions and Allies
- Network of Men Leaders to End Violence against Women, Nigeria (a Nigerian chapter of the UN Secretary-General's Network of Men Leaders to End Violence against Women)
- Men Engaged for Global Alliance
- Affirmative Action Initiative for Women (NCAA)
- Legislative Advocacy Coalition on Violence Against Women (LACVAW)
- National Coalition on Violence Against Women(NACVAW)
- Child Protection Network (CPN), Enugu State
For Programme Support and Partnership Please Contact:
Mr. Okereke Chinwike