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Bringing up boys: Why it’s good for girls


Bringing up boys: Why it’s good for girls

Women Win Executive Director Maria Bobenrieth shares her thoughts about the critical importance of engaging boys in girl empowerment through sport.

Sport as a tool to address GBV

Gender-based violence (GBV) continues to be one of the most catastrophic violations of women’s rights around the world. Recently, sport has been recognized as a powerful tool to effectively address gender inequality, the root of GBV.

While most sport for development programming addressing GBV is aimed at girls, we increasingly understand the imperative of engaging boys in addressing GBV and why it is good for girls.

An inclusive approach
We realize the complexity of addressing gender inequities that lead to GBV requires an inclusive approach. Existing policy and practice around girls’ empowerment often ignores the differences between girls themselves and leads to practices that leave boys and men out of the equation as potential change-agents.

Teaching boys how girls are empowered, and how their own exercise of traditional norms around masculinity often contributes to GBV can be transformative. We have a distinct opportunity to engage these boys in programs to address GBV, change their attitudes and perhaps shift entire social structures.

Women Win
Women Win seeks out innovative approaches to address gender inequality, both within and outside the sport sector. We believe that diverse, holistic community-based alliances between organizations working to address GBV with boys and girls are key to creating sustainable social change.

It is clear that the reduction of GBV is not going to come from simply empowering girls – it is neither feasible, nor their sole responsibility. It demands we harness the energy and potential of boys; this is not only good for the boys, but in its essence, good for girls.


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Maria Bobenrieth


Monday, January 21, 2013 - 23:00