‘We must engage boys and men as part of the solution’

In April, ECF had the opportunity to participate in the Catalyst Conference: Igniting leadership to end sexual violence’ organised by EmancipAction and The Ananta Centre. Rujuta Teredesai, Co-Founder and Executive Director was a panelist for the session ‘Men’s attitudes: Where do they come from’. She also hosted a separate catalyst session during the conference on working with boys and men.

The Catalyst Conference was envisaged as a two day, interactive exploration of the issues with some of the highest ranking experts in the field of women and violence. The objective of the conference was for participants to gain a nuanced understanding of the key drivers and challenges associated with addressing the violence, and also to have the opportunity to participate in the development and execution of some very pragmatic and cutting edge solutions.
It was organized with the goal to inspire and equip a cadre of India’s top young leaders to become catalysts of change in their workplaces as they engage in and seek support for practical solutions to eliminate sexual violence against women and children in this country.
During the session, Rujuta highlighted the work that ECF has been involved in, drawing attention to the organization’s mission – “to ensure that every man in India has the opportunity to study and practise gender equitable behaviour to end violence and discrimination against women and girls”. The discussion revolved around the practical side of the approach of working with boys and men. The emphasis was on the need for widespread adoption of the approach and the role practitioners, funders and policy makers will need to play.

The Catalyst Conference was a unique platform that opened the doors for a more collaborative approach and strategy, where different organizations can partner together and each find a role in the endeavour to end violence and discrimination against women.