Feds commit over $560K to gender equity programs ahead of election

Research shows when it comes to the fight for gender equality, boys and men need to be included in the conversation. Kristen Fong has more from a masculinity studies research professor on the importance of diversity in role models when it comes to changing gender norms.

CALGARY (660 NEWS) — As the Liberal government prepares for the federal election, the Minister of International Development and Women and Gender Equality is wrapping up her mandate with a funding announcement.

Minister Maryam Monsef committed $562,000 to four grassroots organizations across Canada working on strategies to engage men and boys in discussions around gender equality.

“Men are in a unique position to challenge attitudes and stereotypes; support women in our efforts to achieve equality; challenge and change conversations about gender equality, and get us there faster,” she commented.

The Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters and Next Gen Men are two of the non-profits receiving money to support their research and outreach programs.

From L-R: Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Women and Gender Equality Terry Duguid, retired CFL player Keon Raymond, founder of Urban Inuk Kenneth Ingniqjuk Mackay, U of C professor Lana Wells, Next Gen Men program manager Ryan Valley, and Minister of International Development and Minister for Women and Gender Equality Maryam Monsef. Aug. 16, 2019. Source: Megan McPhaden/660 NEWS

Next Gen Men runs after-school programs, workshops, and corporate training to promote healthy masculinities and relationships as well as gender equity in schools and communities by addressing topics like gender roles and stereotypes, violence prevention, peer support, and consent.

“With the groups, we can see behaviour changes over time, and we can see the feedback from participants in the group” said Ryan Valley, program manager with Next Gen Men.

They are hoping to build off of research conducted by Lana Wells, an associate professor and Brenda Strafford chair in the prevention of domestic violence in the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Calgary.

One of the areas she identified for improvement was the need for a national framework so that organizations are aware of what others are doing so they can work together.

Masculinities Studies professor Michael Kehler with University of Calgary   says while the federal government has taken another step towards engaging in issues related to gender equity, specifically boys and men, it falls short of a much-needed national strategy.

“Funding like this definitely responds to different agencies across Canada but I do believe research-informed practices have a place alongside these agencies,” he argued.

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