Report: Gender equality impossible without more help from boys and men
Because I am a Girl is Plan's campaign to fight gender inequality, promote girls' rights and lift millions of girls out of poverty. As part of the campaign, Plan is producing one report each year until 2015, the target year for the Millennium Development Goals.
Girls' standing in the world can’t be improved without far more positive participation from the boys and men in their lives, says a new report by Plan. The annual 'Because I Am A Girl' report finds that fathers, brothers, boyfriends, and husbands play an essential role in creating true gender equality. The report also makes recommendations for action, showing what can make a real difference in the lives of girls all over the world.
The report - So, what about boys? - includes primary research with more than 4,000 children, revealing that many stereotypical beliefs about gender roles in society are still entrenched among the world's young people.
Plan International USA CEO Tessie San Martin said: "Unless young men and boys work alongside young women and girls, the cycle of gender inequality and violence will continue to move through generations. This report demonstrates that working together makes an enormous difference in the lives of millions of girls, their families, and their communities around the world." The report's findings include:
- 65% of participants from India and Rwanda totally or partially agreed with the statement: "A woman should tolerate violence in order to keep her family together." A further 43% agreed with the statement: "There are times when a woman deserves to be beaten."
- More than 60% of children interviewed in India agreed with the statement: "If resources are scarce, it is better to educate a boy instead of a girl."
- 67% of boys and 71% of girls in Rwanda and 83% of boys and 87% of girls in India agreed with the statement: "Changing diapers, giving kids a bath and feeding kids are the mother's responsibility."
- Children are actually happier when they see their parents sharing household responsibilities, rather than sticking to rigid gender roles.
Plan International CEO Nigel Chapman said: "It is widely recognized that empowering girls is a key to unlocking families from poverty and deprivation. But since we began monitoring the state of the world's girls back in 2007, we have rightly been asked: 'So, what about the boys?'
"Of course, many boys are affected by poverty, lack of opportunity and also violence. But girls face double discrimination by being young and by being female. Everyone, including boys, benefits from a more just, equal world, but it cannot be attained by girls alone – we must all play a more active part."
To bring about change, Plan is calling upon governments, leaders and communities to:
- Transform school curriculum to challenge stereotypes and acknowledge differences;
- Support girls' and boys' participation in the creation of policies to improve gender equality;
- Make school safe for girls and boys; and
- Challenge discrimination and engage men and boys.
Download the report