Working as an Ally
In addition to doing self-work, taking action as a bystander, and serving as a role model, men can help to prevent gender-based by working as allies with women.
Because men have privileges that come with being male in a society that gives them more economic, political, and social power than women, the best way for men to work as allies is to use their gender privilege in whatever way they can to prevent violence. In particular, they can try to change the policies and conditions that contribute to gender-based violence and the oppression of women.
Men who work as allies in this way see the benefits of gender and social equality in their own lives and the lives of the women around them. Being an ally also means being accountable to women and recognizing their leadership in the violence prevention field. As those who are most often targeted by gender-based violence, women must continue to lead in this field and the gender justice movement. It is essential for men, as allies, to listen to and learn from women and to be accountable for how they use their privilege.
Gender-based violence also targets gay, bisexual, and transgender men. In this situation, straight men have the privileges that come with their heterosexual identity—and thus they can be important allies in ending the violence and homophobia experienced by gay, bisexual, and transgender men.
- What are the qualities of a good ally?
- What makes it hard for men to be good allies in ending gender-based violence?
- How can men become better allies to survivors of violence?
The Association of Men Against Violence by Ruben Reyes is a case study that describes the history of the Association of Men Against Violence in Nicaragua and the work that it does to help men tackle the culture of machismo and learn to work with and listen to women.
Men's Work: How to Stop the Violence that Tears our Lives Apart by Paul Kivel provides practical advice for working with men to stop violence and examples of what works. You can order this book from the Hazelden Clinic.
An ally can be someone from a privileged group who intervenes in personal or institutional situations where exploitation, violence, or abuse is being perpetrated against people from another group with less privilege. For a closer look at this concept, see the Power Chart exercise.
Read the handout, The Five Qualities of an Ally and the Ally Pledge for Young Men by Paul Kivel.
For a good discussion about building solidarity with people different from yourself, see Cross-Cultural Solidarity.
Last modified 2004-12-09 05:57 PM