Gender synchronized approaches, which engage women, girls, men and boys, in intentional and complementary ways, are considered best practice. Such approaches strengthen communication and supportive relationships in households, shift social norms to be more supportive of women’s and girls’ rights, and help to secure sustainable progress. Men and boys can be engaged at multiple levels, including: engaging individual learning and reflection (often through participatory workshops), engaging with intimate relationships and families and community mobilization and outreach.
Across intervention areas – whether with women, men or youth, CARE’s experience also notes the importance of peer support groups – via mentoring, support groups and coaching – to support individuals to cross gender norms and organize for broader social change. This is essential for creating a safe space to share challenges and experiences with one another, as well as support one another through community backlash.
Finally, inclusive governance structures – in those marginalized due to their gender identity have meaningful representation, voice and influence and laws that protect equal access to rights and resources – drive and sustain more equitable power relations and gender equality. Women’s rights and other progressive organizations have been the vanguard of fighting for the reform of discriminatory laws and practices, but dialogue and alliances between civil society and state actors, both reformers and resisters, is also essential to close the gap between rights on paper and in practice.
Strengthening Relationships & Solidarity Groups
These practices support strong relations - among family and intimate partners, peers and communities - toward gender justice.
This can look like working with groups of women for savings, learning, analysis and action; supporting men's groups to confront toxic masculinities and support gender equality; working with adolescent and youth groups for self-expression, creativity, political education and support; or uniting socially marginalized workers for solidarity, mutual-aid, self-defense and advocating for their rights.
While much of this work has built on community support networks, this area of work also engages interpersonal relationships and families to build strong communication, collaboration and support.
Social Norms Change
Social norms change is an exercise in future-making. These practices aim to expand options on what is possible, normal and affirmed in society. Social norms change work seeks to enable individuals to make choices affecting their lives and promote gender justice.
Approaches build on identifying and supporting local change agents, carving space for dialogue and debate and supporting new media and narratives to make space for different experiences and voices to be shared and heard.
Inclusive & Accountable Institutions
Acknowledging that robust and sustainable change toward gender justice requires leadership among those most impacted by injustices, another set of approaches works to build leadership among marginalized groups. Alongside this, approaches often also work to build collective power of groups, and networking of diverse groups toward influencing political and social change.
This work has also engages networks and movement actors as a force for change.
Leadership & Collective Action
Democratic institutions require accountability and inclusion of diverse people's needs.
These practices have worked with individuals to know their rights. They have engaged bureaucracies toward social inclusion of and taking accountability for diverse people's rights and needs. It also involves practices that support strengthening the effectiveness of institutions to meet demands.
These types of approaches have been applied to build economic power, political power and resilience among those who often face exploitation and exclusion.