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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Live from MenEngage Rio: How do we focus on well-being?

Posted by Theresa Castillo

In today’s plenary session, “Including Men and Masculinities in Gender Equality Policies,” one of the speakers said something that really struck me. Annikenn Huitfeldt, the Minister of Gender Equality and Children in Norway, posed the question, “How do we move from discussing “being well” to focusing on well-being?” She challenged us to think about all of the factors that comprise a person’s well-being, and that lead to a family’s well-being.

In the context of male engagement, one aspect of well-being for many men is being able to be fully involved in family life, yet laws and policies don’t always support this. To support well-being for everyone—men, women, and families—national policies are needed in many, many countries that grant men paternity leave, that allow men to be present in labor and delivery rooms, even for something as simple has making sure that there are family diaper stations in public restrooms.

Ms. Huitfeldt’s speech illustrated perfectly the need to work at all levels to bring about change, and affirmed for me that in the Men As Partners program, we’re definitely on the right track.

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