MenEngage Alliance

Colm Kelly Ryan, our Head of Programmes and Advocacy, was elected to the Steering Committee of MenEngage Europe (MEE) at its meeting in Berlin from November 6-8th 2022.

Mandated for a two-year term, he succeeds our long-time and widely respected MenEngage representative, Sé Franklin. Colm thanked Sé for his service in representing Men’s Development Network at MenEngage Europe level since 2009 and when the alliance began to formalise in 2013.

“Sé has played a significant leadership role within the Steering Committee in relation to Leadership, Inner Work for Social Change and Anti-Racism,” Colm said. “He will be greatly missed in this role for his gentle, courageous advocacy.”

MenEngage Alliance is a global social change network working to transform masculinities and engage men and boys in women’s rights and gender justice for all. MenEngage Europe comprises over 88 organisations and 12 individual members from 33 European countries. MDN is Ireland’s sole representative.

The busy three-day members’ meeting in Germany was the first MEE gathering since Seville in October 2022 (see below). The theme was ‘Inspiration, Interconnectedness and Intersectionality’. Members had the opportunity to present on aspects of their work in their local contexts and to renew or make new connections.

Delegates (50 in person and 10 joining online) discussed masculinities and work with men and boys for Gender Justice in Europe. Topics on the agenda covered GBV, Militarism, LGBTQI, Intersectionality, Feminist Systems Change, Patriarchal Backlash, Anti-Racism, and more.

Clockwise from left: Colm Kelly Ryan and Sé Franklin at the MenEngage Europe Members’ Meeting in Berlin; Sé speaking in the circle of attendees; the newly elected Steering Committee, and the Berlin meeting in progress.

“Sé has played a significant leadership role within the Steering Committee in relation to Leadership, Inner Work for Social Change and Anti-Racism. He will be greatly missed in this role for his gentle, courageous advocacy.”

Colm Kelly Ryan on the contribution of Sé Franklin

MenEngage Europe delegates who met in Berlin, Germany, from November 6-8, 2022. 

Photographer: Tony Hultkvist, MÄN, Sweden

New MEE Steering Committee

  • Miguel Lazaro, Masculinidades Beta (Madrid, Spain)
  • Hannah Mars/Jens van Tricht, Emancipator (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
  • Colm Kelly Ryan, Men’s Development Network (Waterford, Ireland)
  • Nikki Van der Gaag, Independent Consultant (Oxford, UK)
  • Anamarija Soco, Status-M (Zagreb, Croatia)
  • Custodia Delgado Valbuena, Independent Member (Seville, Spain)
  • David Kiuranov, Association Roditelli (Sofia, Bulgaria)
  • Anna Lindqvist, MÄN (Stockholm, Sweden)
  • Fatjon Taipi, Woman to Woman (Tirana, Albania)
  • Aleksandar Dimitrijevic, Men Against Violence (Valetta, Malta)
  • Bledar Zeneli, Counselling Line for Men and Boys (Tirana, Albania)

MDN represented at gathering in Seville

Sé Franklin (left), MDN National Rep and Men Engage Europe steering committee member, pictured in Seville with Katrien van der Hey (Belgium) and Custodio Delgado (Spain).

Men’s Development Network proudly flew the flag for Ireland at the MenEngage Alliance event in Spain in October 2021.

MDN was represented by our Head of Programmes and Advocacy, Colm Kelly Ryan, and National Rep Sé Franklin, who has been a member of the steering committee of the regional MenEngage Europe Network since it was formed in January 2009. He also holds a coordinator role with the grouping.

The four-day Seville Initiative was centred around the Men for Equality and Against Sexist Violence conference on October 21st (#21Oct21).

It was organised by MenEngage Europe, an important vehicle through which organisations and individuals working with men and boys can achieve gender equality, end violence, and promote health for men, women and children.

As part of MenEngage Europe’s participation in the forum, Colm delivered a presentation on MDN’s advocacy in the context of transforming masculinities. This covered our work towards ending sexual exploitation in Ireland (e.g. the Beyond Exploitation campaign) and as the lead organisation on the White Ribbon campaign in Ireland (Men Ending Gender-Based Violence).

During the trip, Colm availed of various opportunities to network: including a meeting with Anthea Sully, CEO of White Ribbon UK. They discussed their respective programmes, the potential to build capacity, and possible strategic partnerships.

C190 interest

In his contribution, Colm also highlighted our ongoing campaign, in partnership with Action Aid Ireland and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, seeking urgent Government ratification of International Labour Organisation Convention No.190. The overdue passage of this legislation will guard against violence and harassment in the workplace, not least along gender lines.

There was considerable interest in how this civic society alliance was developed and Colm urged other members of MenEngage Europe to bring pressure to bear on their governments to take action to ratify the convention to protect workers, and women in particular.

Agenda

Colm’s input further explained the programmes and values of Men’s Development Network, as contained in our Strategic Plan, 2020-25. MDN works through a transforming masculinities lens and all members of the MenEngage Global Network commit to this approach.

Colm Kelly Ryan

MenEngage Alliance Europe has three functions: networking, capacity building, and advocacy. MenEngage adopts a pro-feminist, intersectional approach, working to undo male social conditioning and dealing with harmful gender norms in society.

While in Spain, MenEngage delegates supported a collective declaration at the event to pursue a feminist agenda when it comes to working with men and masculinities.

The successful Seville gathering was the first physical meeting of the MenEngage Alliance in Europe since the emergence of COVID-19. The immediate future direction of the alliance will be shaped at a planned meeting in Warsaw next March to form an advocacy working group.

In co-hosting this meeting with the Share The Care Foundation and the MenEngage Alliance Europe Secretariat, Men’s Development Network looks forward to being an influential voice for Ireland at these talks.

Video from Seville #21Oct21 march

SHOW OF SOLIDARITY

During their Spanish sojourn, MDN’s representatives also took part in a major “Men against ‘machista’ violence” march. Over 1,000 people attended the colourful show of unity on the streets of Sevilla to denounce male violence and show their support for gender equality. The demonstration was covered by RTVE, the Spanish public broadcasting service (see here).

On the same subject, Colm Kelly Ryan was among the contributors to a special episode of the Now and Men podcast (broadcast by the Centre for Research into Violence and Abuse at Durham University, UK) which you can listen to below.

Aims and Objectives

  • MenEngage is a global alliance of NGOs and UN agencies that seeks to engage boys and men to achieve gender equality.

  • At a national level, members include more than 400 NGOs from Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, North America, Asia and Europe.

  • MenEngage Europe is the regional European network of the alliance. The Alliance came together in 2006 with the general goal of working in partnership to promote the engagement of men and boys in achieving gender equality, promoting health and reducing violence at the global level, including questioning the structural barriers to achieving gender equality.

  • The MenEngage partners work collectively and individually toward the fulfilment of the Millennium Development Goals, particularly those components that focus on achieving gender equality.

  • Activities of the alliance include information-sharing, joint training activities and national, regional and international advocacy.

  • It develops joint statements of action on specific areas of engaging men, carries out advocacy campaigns, and seek to act as a collective voice to promote a global movement of men and boys engaged in and working toward gender equality and questioning violence and non-equitable versions of manhood.