Welcome! This blog documents my experience as a Nancy Germeshausen Klavans Cultural Bridge Fellow with the Liberian Ministry of Gender and Development during my studies at the Harvard Kennedy School.

The views expressed are solely my own and are written to share experiences, introduce issues, and initiate conversation. Thank you for reading!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

More Than a Few Good Men

The overall fight for gender equality, particularly the battles to eliminate violence against women, requires more than just the efforts of strong women. It requires a few good men, as well. Complete protection for women will never exist unless an entire society feels that every person deserves to live violently free.

I have been lucky enough to have strong and supportive men in my life and I don’t think that trend will change here. Liberia, and particularly the Gender Based Violence Secretariat in my office, includes more than a few good men working towards an equal, violent free society for all. In fact, more than half my office is made up of men – and let me say that my discussions with them have shown that they truly care about the future of their country!

Rape against children, men and women is not just a problem for women to be concerned with. So all you great men out there, don’t turn your head. We need and appreciate you being with us!


denise hoke said...

I knew next to nothing about Liberia before I began reading your blogs -- the statistics on violence towards women were shocking --- it made my heart sink. I am so encouraged, Emily, by the information that you are giving us about the possibilities for change including that there are more than a few good men who are ready to step forward.
I have been thinking a great deal about how one goes about working towards change in a culture when you are an outsider. It brings to mind some of our favorite books -- The Sparrow and Children of God.
We are keeping you in our thoughts and prayers and I am forwarding your blog address to my friends.
Denise Hoke

Eric said...

Emily! I really enjoyed reading your blog and I'll be sure to keep popping in throughout the summer to hear about your experiences.

I completely agree with you that both men and women need to participate in gender equality. I am currently in Mozambique where I've been informed, by several of my colleagues, that Friday is Man's Day! I was struck by the attitude change of both men and women that would be needed to achieve improved gender equality.


Cassie said...

That’s right! It is not to say that men do not have a required participatory role in feminism, because they certainly do. In a contributing essay comprised in the anthology, Men In Feminism, Stephen Heath illuminates this to us:
Men have a necessary relation to feminism-the point after all is that it should change them too, that it involves learning new ways of being woman and men against and as an end to the reality of women’s oppression.

Jardine, Alice, & Paul Smith., ed. Men in Feminism. New York: Methuen, Inc., 1987.

Anonymous said...

Emily, could you please help Jeff and I celebrate international men's day? I think it is important to have a staffer from the gender ministry at out event.

Emily Stanger said...

Denise, It's quite amazing to see how much hope and movement can stem from a few people stepping forward. In the midst of the huge problems here in Liberia, I keep trying to remember that fact. Thanks for all your support, especially in spreading the word. I am so blessed to have the family that I do! Can’t wait to discuss travels, life, culture and books when I get back in August.

Eric, I LOVE the fact that Mozambique is celebrating International Man’s Day. I’m all about the equality going both ways. Good thing we have fabulous men like you solving the world’s problems with awareness, compassion, and incredibly sharp minds.

***Also, I highly recommend that people check out Eric’s (a classmate of mine from Harvard) blog site on his experience in Mozambique – you can get there by clicking his name above.

Cass, I love the line “new ways of being women and men”. Thank you for sharing it!

Anonymous housemate of mine, I will definitely attend the celebration. Does that mean you will be celebrating International Women’s Day with me in Cambridge next year?

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