Male participation vital to women’s economic empowerment interventions

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BY LORETTA BRIGIDIA MANEL

WORKING with men to challenge gender inequitable behaviour and norms is crucial for economic empowerment programming.

Yesterday, under Australian Aid’s “Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development” programme, a Research Launch took place at the Heritage Park Hotel centered on a research project called “Do No Harm: Understanding the Relationship between Women’s Economic Empowerment and Violence Against Women in Melanesia”.

One of the key speakers, Associate Professor Richard Eves from Australian National University’s department of Pacific Affairs shared key findings of the above study.

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He said that the research findings have suggested key lessons which are; that women’s savings groups are a potential pathway for women’s economic empowerment, working with men to challenge gender inequitable behavior and norms is important, there is a need for community based gender transformative programmes and that women’s economic empowerment programming should adopt a “Do No Harm” approach.

Speaking of the second recommendation, he voiced that the Do No Harm research in Solomon Islands finds that is important that men are on the same track with women before economic empowerment interventions are staged.

Prof Eves added that it is vital that men are exposed to gender training at the beginning of any economic empowerment initiatives.

“The gender awareness training done by Live and Learn in Makira in preparation for the establishment of savings clubs was very helpful to men’s acceptance of women-only saving clubs,” he said.

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