State of the World's Children


2013: Children with Disabilities

2012 : Children in an urban world

2011: Adolescence

Special: Child rights

2009: Maternal + newborn health

2008: Child survival

2007: Gender equality


Involving men to empower women

The double dividend of gender equality

© UNICEF Malaysia/2006/Nadchatram

Men can make a crucial contribution to ending gender discrimination. Globally, men continue to dominate decision-making processes in households, economies and governments. In addition, men’s participation in initiatives to promote gender mainstreaming and gender equality remains low. Such initiatives may be perceived as a threat to their status and power.

By making child-friendly choices and supporting women in their capacities as decision-makers, men can be powerful allies in the struggle for women’s equality. Evidence shows that men are more likely to be active, hands-on fathers when they feel positive about themselves and their relationship with the child’s mother, when they have support for active involvement in their children’s lives from family and friends, and when they are in employment.

Men are often the dominant household decision-makers, yet they tend to be overlooked by programs that improve conditions for women and children. UNICEF’s experience shows that programs that focus on males provide ways to promote positive gender socialisation. Programs that encourage the participation of both men and women can help to increase communication between the sexes and encourage a more even division of childcare responsibilities. Another strategy for increasing men’s support for gender equality involves policies that aim to redistribute benefits to men and women more equitably.

Advocacy initiatives designed to educate men and women on the benefits of gender equality and joint decision-making can help nurture a more cooperative relationship between men and women. Evidence shows that fathers are more likely to stop abusive treatment towards mothers if they have been exposed to information on how gender-based violence adversely affects their children.



 Involving men to empower women

 Supporting women’s organisations

 The government's role in helping working families





State of the World's Children's 2007

Women in Malaysia


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