woman at radio station (Photo: Jeroen van Loon)

Blog: Reimagining and Co-creating a Gender-just Future

Between 8-11 September 2016, Rachel Ploem will be representing Rutgers at the 13th AWID International Forum in Brazil, titled "Feminist Futures: Building Collective Power for Rights and Justice." In her blog, Rachel speaks of her excitement to engage in this global initiative of intersectional learning and exchange: an important step in realising an all-gender inclusive women's rights agenda.

logo AWID forum 2016With Olympic thoughts of inclusivity and equality in mind, today I fly to Brazil to participate at the 13th AWID International Forum—the world’s largest gathering of women’s rights and feminist organisations. Being a feminist who has been following gender discourse for decades, I am thrilled to take part in this global initiative of intersectional learning and exchange. 

Pushing the boundaries

Intersectional learning and exchange is all about enriching dialogues and debates with multiple perspectives—among these include engaging men and boys in the struggle for gender justice. Male involvement in gender justice is not an easy task. Some perceived dangers of male involvement include: “reinforcing paternalistic roles, taking over leadership positions from women, dominating spaces for conversation and siphoning off funding for work with women and girls” (MenEngage Alliance, 2015: 8). 

In Rutgers, we are inspired by the women’s rights movement’s long history of pushing the boundaries, and of questioning societal norms and values. To this end, we critically examine how to best partner and meaningfully engage men and boys in our day to day struggles to reach sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) for all. 

Partnering with (young) men to end gender-based violence

Guided by the principles of inclusivity and diversity, at Rutgers we are on a constant search for alternative and creative ways to advance SRHR and gender justice. In our five-year programme Prevention+ for example, we collaborate with  (young) men to end gender-based violence. Through Prevention+, we are exploring ways to partner with men and boys to eliminate violence against women, and to improve women’s life opportunities within the private and public spheres.

Together with the MenEngage Alliance, I will listen with great curiosity and engage in dialogue on how to realise an all-gender inclusive women’s rights agenda and feminist futures.

Let the intersectional learning and exchange begin!

rachel ploemRachel Ploem 
Advisor, Women's Health & Gender

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