“There is no going back now…”

Opening Session

One, two skip a few, ninety-nine, four hundred and fifty.

To say that it has been a mind blowing day is an understatement. As the delegates came flooding into the atrium it became impossible for me to ignore that we are no longer a few guys toiling away, almost unseen, in a bleak corner of downtown Toronto.

I have had some excellent conversations, some off the record and on the beach, but all reaffirming the importance of this work.

The Opening Session got off to a late start, which is to be expected when you gather so many people from so many places around the globe, together for the first time to discuss and engage men and boys on social norms and gender equity. Putting faces to email addresses produces a gush of “WE HAVE SO MUCH TO TALK ABOUT!”

Michel Sidibé, Executive Director UNAIDS, said it best during his Opening Sessions speach; “this is not just a meeting, it is a revolution in practice.”

Tomorrow the sessions beging in earnest. Here is my schedule for tomorrow:

Tuesday
9:00am: Dialogue with Women’s Rights Movements
11:00am: Including Men and Masculinities in Gender Equity Policies
2:30pm: Men, Masculinity and Gender-Based Violence
4:30pm: Engaging Men to Precent Violence Against Women and Girls

You can read the full week’s program here (PDF).

The title quote was from the Opening Session speach from by Inés Alberidi, Executive Director of UNIFEM. After these four days in Rio, there will be no turning back from engaging men and boys, addressing social norms and gender inequalities.

-CJ

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