Initiated by the men of TechCommunications firm, TQ Group, the Ma Gents Against Gender Abuse (Mgaga) have announced an exciting partnership with GenderWorks aimed at bringing about behaviour change to root out toxic masculinity in the South African society. GenderWorks is a registered, non-profit organisation based in South Africa and affiliated to Gender Equity and Reconciliation International.
To ensure that GBV activism extends beyond 16 Days Mgaga extends an invitation to all genders, but especially men, to participate in workshops and experiences and begin to address the underlying attitudes, behaviours and norms that drive a GBV culture.
Zaba LeRoto Hlatshwayo, one of the initiators of the Mgaga movement, says that the movement is a rallying call for men who are against gender abuse to do the work of change by taking action. “We are challenging amaGents [men] to honestly look at our entrenched notions of gender domination, use of sexist language disguised as jokes, the continued objectification of women that in many cases, can lead to GBV. Through listening and honest self-reflection, we begin to understand how we contribute to the scourge of GBV and begin to take measures that will stop it. This then compels us to take a stand and join a movement to rewire how we perceive our own masculinity in relation to women and other-gendered people,” he says.
The aim of the workshops and experiences provided by GenderWorks, is to transform gender and sexuality injustice and build compassionate relations between all genders. Desirée English of GenderWorks explains: “Our workshops create safe spaces for truth telling and witnessing. We facilitate the transformation and disruption of gender conditioning to build compassion and accelerate gender inclusivity in communities and organisations,” she says.
The Mgaga movement will include a pledge calling on people of all gender expressions and identities, particularly men, to commit themselves to a range of actions that drive change in the culture of GBV, including:
- Acknowledging the entrenched toxic masculine conditioning.
- Addressing inequality and power imbalances in themselves, their families, their workplace and communities.
- Holding each other accountable for sexist, prejudicial and dehumanising language.
- Learning how to respond to colleagues who resort to gender stereotyping.
- For men to become role models that allow for the expression of emotion, vulnerability and affection.
“The partnership between Mgaga and GenderWorks has the potential to really strike the problem of GBV at its source by redefining masculinity and allowing men to be part of a movement that will help reframe our preconceptions,” says LeRoto.
Nicole Klassen, TQ Group’s head of Communications for Change and student of Social and Behavioural Change Communication, believes that this partnership exemplifies the type of change communications necessary to shift the needle on this crisis in South African society.
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