To get a good idea of just how many people, from many different countries, attended the conference, you just had to be there during the coffee break.
The Rio Call to Action has been posted on the official Engagingmen2009 website.
You can view it, and any updates that follow here: http://www.engagingmen2009.org/24
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Global Symposium on Engaging Men and Boys on
Achieving Gender Equality
Rio de Janeiro
March 29 – April 3, 2009
PART ONE: PREAMBLE
We come from eighty countries. We are men and women, young and old, working side by side with respect and shared goals. We are active in community organizations, religious and educational institutions; we are representatives of governments, NGOs and the United Nations. We speak many languages, we look like the diverse peoples of the world and carry their diverse beliefs and religions, cultures, physical abilities, and sexual and gender identities. We are indigenous peoples, immigrants, and ones whose ancestors moved across the planet. We are fathers and mothers, daughters and sons, brothers and sisters, partners and lovers, husbands and wives.
I didn’t got to any of the morning sessions yesterday as they were not necesarily relevant to my interests in doing this work. However if any one did attend Men, Health, Sexuality and HIV/AIDS or Men, Masculinities, HIV and AIDS and would like to share their thoughts and opinions, please let me know.
I did attend Youth Activism for Achieving Gender Equality and was really blown away by the passion, drive and creativity of the youth activists. They have all embraced new media, digital story telling and energetic activism with amazing results.
The session only became bogged down when the audience (of mostly 30 somethings, of which I was one) tried to engage the youth. I have noticed that, without trying to lay blame, a lot of people have a lot to say (which there is inherently nothing wrong with) about the amazing work they are doing. Unfortunately they aren’t able to speak about their work and experiences in an appropriate forum, which often leads to over-indulgent testimonials when concise questions are needed instead to engage presenters and audience alike in a question/answer style activity.
That being said, it is great to see how excited and passionate everyone is.
Communal laptops and iffy wifi have stymied a few of my posting attempts unfortunately. We have some great video but it has been, so far, troublesome to upload.
The Plenary Sessions started in earnest yesterday morning. Two things were said during Dialogue With Women’s Rights Movements that I found very poignant. First from Michael Kimmel (paraphrasing from my notes) “never forget we are here because of the work of women” which he then summed up as “premature self-congratulation.”
Secondly from Judith Bruce, referring to a difficult and distasteful meeting she had with some rather misogynistic doctors (again paraphrasing) “if you’ve got someone to tell it to, you can make it through anything”
Unfortunately I missed the second session Including Men and Masculinities In Gender Equality Policies, but a friend gave me a summary: “Norway and Spain are the best places to live if you’re looking for gender equity.” Which I discovered for myself later in the day during Uif Rikter-Svendsen’s (Reform in Norway) presentation at Engaging Men to Prevent Violence Against Women And Girls. Unfortunately the rest of that session was very data-heavy and didn’t leave any room for engaging the audience.
The most engaging session of the day came, perhaps not surprisingly, from Jackson Katz during Men, Masculinities and Gender-based Violence. I had heard a lot of what he said when he was in Toronto in November, but it is always a moving experience.
The Global Village also got into high gear with displays from many like-minded organizations around the world, with more to come in the next two days.
As well the Rio Call To Action was available in the Atrium for participants to voice their opinions. If you haven’t done so already, this is your opportunity to have your say.
The best interaction I had yesterday, however, came after dinner, during a relaxed, informal discussion among colleagues. These are the sessions I look forward to most.
If anyone has pictures or a post they’d like to see here, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org