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Men Speak Out: The Life Experiences of Men in Gender Advocacy Groups in Davao City, Philippines

Analyn Q. Villaroman

Abstract: The media often portray men as violent. This study of two men’s groups, MOVE-Davao, and MR GAD seeks to find an alternative discourse of men joining groups that are geared towards the attainment of gender equality. The study looked into the lives of men who are members of two gender advocacy groups and their reasons for engagement. It employed qualitative approach- social phenomenology where 12 participants were interviewed. Participants of MOVE-Davao mostly hold key positions in both public and private sectors. For MR GAD, most men members are direct service providers in their respective communities especially on the aspect of dispute resolution. As men of MOVE-Davao and MR GAD have become involved in the gender advocacy groups, their life experiences suggest a myriad of opportunities for displaying their creativeness, communicating with fellow men, counseling couples, transforming one’s self and other people and enjoying the group’s activities despite some challenges encountered. Men’s engagement in these gender advocacy groups is anchored on caring and helping others. Other reasons include their love for children, being free from gender stereotypes and the material and non-material rewards. The study recommends that men must be given space to participate in development work as they bring a new strategy so that they can affect new consciousness not just in the formal structures of power but also at the informal level.
Keywords: Social Science / gender equality / Gender Advocacy / phenomenology / Qualitative Method / Philippines

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