Latest News

From Beirut: ABAAD Masculinity Workshop

17 April 2013
The right time to engage men in ending violence against women?

WILPF MENA project staff participated in a ground-breaking international workshop on this challenging question in Beirut from 10-11 April 2013, arranged by our national partner ABAAD. Participants came from Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco, Egypt, Nicaragua, Sweden, South Africa and the USA to share global insights on the question.

Analysing Masculinities and Gender Equality

In a highly patriarchal and militarised region, analysing masculinities and gender equality, and thinking about how to engage men as partners in ending violence against women is extremely perplexing.

As in other parts of the world, rigid gender norms create and uphold a power structure in which men understand what it means to be a man through violence and the suppression of women. Disregard for women is allowed and aggressive means of controlling women is sometimes encouraged. The cycle is entrenched because preventing gender based violence is not prioritised, and both the normative and legal frameworks allow impunity for men who choose to use violence in their interpersonal relationships with women, and with their children.

Much can be done, however. Not only ABAAD’s own innovative work on masculinities but the rich experiences presented by experts on the issue – Gary Barker and Oswaldo Montoya of Promundo and MenEngage, and Dean Peacock of Sonke Gender Justice Network – offered exciting experiences from Brazil, South Africa and Nicaragua. All gave practical insights into how gender inequalities are transformed and violence is reduced when men challenge violent concepts of masculinity and become agents of change.

Engaging Men and Boys in Gender Equality

Given the opportunity to exchange ideas and share our knowledge and skills, participants at the workshop also started to see how our work could engage men and boys in gender equality. For WILPF MENA staff and partners, thinking about how men can contribute to peace and demilitarisation also offered an important lens on our existing MENA work.  We were inspired to ask new questions. If men and boys can promote gender equality, if violent masculinity can be turned around, and if clear social, cultural and health data on the benefits of gender equality for men and boys, women and girls can be gathered in other parts of the globe, then why not extend this transformational work beyond Lebanon and into other parts of the MENA too?

Two days of lively discussions allowed us to set an agenda for future work on masculinities with a MENA focus. We all agreed that we want to build strategies to work with men on transforming masculinities, ending violence against women, and contributing to peace.

Future Plans to Engage Men in the MENA agenda

The workshop concluded with plans for a first platform for the sharing of ideas, a strong commitment to keep discussing masculinities in different contexts, plans to set a ‘men, peace and security’ agenda, and a shared vision to continue with global networking and deciding future plans for engaging men in the MENA.

ABAAD’s collection of a large number of resources on gender and masculinities will be made available soon on this website.  For more information contact: ABAAD

To read this article in Arabic please click here

Share the post

Your donation isn’t just a financial transaction; it’s a step toward a more compassionate and equitable world. With your support, we’re poised to achieve lasting change that echoes through generations. Thank you!

Thank you!

Melissa Torres


Prior to being elected Vice-President, Melissa Torres was the WILPF US International Board Member from 2015 to 2018. Melissa joined WILPF in 2011 when she was selected as a Delegate to the Commission on the Status of Women as part of the WILPF US’ Practicum in Advocacy Programme at the United Nations, which she later led. She holds a PhD in Social Work and is a professor and Global Health Scholar at Baylor College of Medicine and research lead at BCM Anti-Human Trafficking Program. Of Mexican descent and a native of the US/Mexico border, Melissa is mostly concerned with the protection of displaced Latinxs in the Americas. Her work includes training, research, and service provision with the American Red Cross, the National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Centre, and refugee resettlement programs in the U.S. Some of her goals as Vice-President are to highlight intersectionality and increase diversity by fostering inclusive spaces for mentorship and leadership. She also contributes to WILPF’s emerging work on the topic of displacement and migration.

Jamila Afghani


Jamila Afghani is the President of WILPF Afghanistan which she started in 2015. She is also an active member and founder of several organisations including the Noor Educational and Capacity Development Organisation (NECDO). Elected in 2018 as South Asia Regional Representative to WILPF’s International Board, WILPF benefits from Jamila’s work experience in education, migration, gender, including gender-based violence and democratic governance in post-conflict and transitional countries.

Sylvie Jacqueline Ndongmo


Sylvie Jacqueline NDONGMO is a human rights and peace leader with over 27 years experience including ten within WILPF. She has a multi-disciplinary background with a track record of multiple socio-economic development projects implemented to improve policies, practices and peace-oriented actions. Sylvie is the founder of WILPF Cameroon and was the Section’s president until 2022. She co-coordinated the African Working Group before her election as Africa Representative to WILPF’s International Board in 2018. A teacher by profession and an African Union Trainer in peace support operations, Sylvie has extensive experience advocating for the political and social rights of women in Africa and worldwide.

WILPF Afghanistan

In response to the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban and its targeted attacks on civil society members, WILPF Afghanistan issued several statements calling on the international community to stand in solidarity with Afghan people and ensure that their rights be upheld, including access to aid. The Section also published 100 Untold Stories of War and Peace, a compilation of true stories that highlight the effects of war and militarisation on the region. 

IPB Congress Barcelona

WILPF Germany (+Young WILPF network), WILPF Spain and MENA Regional Representative

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Mauris facilisis luctus rhoncus. Praesent eget tellus sit amet enim consectetur condimentum et vel ante. Nulla facilisi. Suspendisse et nunc sem. Vivamus ullamcorper vestibulum neque, a interdum nisl accumsan ac. Cras ut condimentum turpis. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia curae; Curabitur efficitur gravida ipsum, quis ultricies erat iaculis pellentesque. Nulla congue iaculis feugiat. Suspendisse euismod congue ultricies. Sed blandit neque in libero ultricies aliquam. Donec euismod eget diam vitae vehicula. Fusce hendrerit purus leo. Aenean malesuada, ante eu aliquet mollis, diam erat suscipit eros, in.


WILPF uses feminist analysis to argue that militarisation is a counter-productive and ill-conceived response to establishing security in the world. The more society becomes militarised, the more violence and injustice are likely to grow locally and worldwide.

Sixteen states are believed to have supplied weapons to Afghanistan from 2001 to 2020 with the US supplying 74 % of weapons, followed by Russia. Much of this equipment was left behind by the US military and is being used to inflate Taliban’s arsenal. WILPF is calling for better oversight on arms movement, for compensating affected Afghan people and for an end to all militarised systems.

Militarised masculinity

Mobilising men and boys around feminist peace has been one way of deconstructing and redefining masculinities. WILPF shares a feminist analysis on the links between militarism, masculinities, peace and security. We explore opportunities for strengthening activists’ action to build equal partnerships among women and men for gender equality.

WILPF has been working on challenging the prevailing notion of masculinity based on men’s physical and social superiority to, and dominance of, women in Afghanistan. It recognizes that these notions are not representative of all Afghan men, contrary to the publicly prevailing notion.

Feminist peace​

In WILPF’s view, any process towards establishing peace that has not been partly designed by women remains deficient. Beyond bringing perspectives that encapsulate the views of half of the society and unlike the men only designed processes, women’s true and meaningful participation allows the situation to improve.

In Afghanistan, WILPF has been demanding that women occupy the front seats at the negotiating tables. The experience of the past 20 has shown that women’s presence produces more sustainable solutions when they are empowered and enabled to play a role.

Skip to content