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Frame the work with men and boys within a human rights-based and gender-responsive approach

Last edited: October 30, 2010

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A human rights-based approach requires that interventions be based on internationally agreed human rights standards and that interventions are designed to help fulfil those standards. For information on a rights-based approach see the women/gender page of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Guiding Principles Section of Programming Essentials on this site. Also available in French.

A gender-responsive approach requires that interventions recognize that girls and women have different biological characteristics, and importantly, different socially prescribed roles from boys and men, which translates into different needs, priorities and the ability to exercise and enjoy rights. Analyzing these social and cultural factors with respect to men and women’s roles and relationships will help ensure that interventions are designed in a more effective manner, so that women’s access to resources, voice and opportunity can be realized in the context of prevention efforts and in response to survivors.

To this end, experts in gender analysis and violence against women should be involved in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of interventions to ensure an ethical, human rights and gender perspective and to ensure that approaches are empowering to women.

An important lesson learned when engaging men as part of the solution is to be careful to use language that recognizes that all men do not commit acts of violence, while emphasizing that all men need to be held accountable for their personal and political actions, including condoning sexism or violence.