Masculinities, Social Exclusion and Prospects for Change: Reflections from Promundo’s Work in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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The contribution of Gary Barker, Marcos Nascimento, Christine Ricardo, Marianna Olinger and Marcio Segundo on the work of Instituto Promundo, an NGO addressing precisely this interface between policy and practice in its work in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The starting point for Promundo’s work has been the six million men ‘missing’ from the Brazilian population mostly as a result of death in traffic accidents and homicide, the vast majority of the latter being gun-related and mostly occurring in low-income, urban areas in Brazil. Barker and colleagues describe their efforts to amplify the voices of resistance from young men who were challenging these norms of violent masculinity and embracing gender-equitable ways of being a man. Recognizing the challenge of broadening beyond individual-level change to challenging the community conditions that fuel men’s violence, Promundo is working to stimulate and sustain community activism, in part by allying with youth-led social justice work and linking this with policy analysis and advocacy in relevant social, public health and public security policies. Barker and colleagues conclude that work with men on masculinities and violence is about developing a ‘gender literacy’ not only among individuals at the community level, but also among a cohort of partner civil society organizations and policy makers who understand that gender justice and social justice are indissolubly linked.

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