Effective organised activism against gender-based violence

Gender-based violence is a global issue, affecting thousands of people in all countries. Women and girls are the most vulnerable to violence but men and boys are also affected.

Tackling gender-based violence requires attention to a number of interrelated areas, including prevention, treatment and legal frameworks.

However, work to end gender-based violence will be more successful if it harnesses the power of collective actors, including working with men and boys. Organised activism against gender-based violence is a key way of creating transformative change on attitudes, norms and behaviours, as well as pushing for change in policy and practice.

Latest updates

What makes it possible for male survivors of conflict-related sexual violence to organise and become activists, challenging discriminatory social and gender norms? This question is addressed in a new study from IDS, the Refugee Law Project and Men of Hope Refugee Association Uganda which also looks at the the role of third-party service providers and non-governmental organisations.

A new IDS policy briefing summarises the key findings of a global research programme on effective organised activism against sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). It highlights the importance of addressing the underlying structural causes of violence showing that men are becoming more visible as partners in tackling SGBV, holding themselves and others accountable for maintaining harmful gender norms that perpetuate violence.

It is now widely accepted that effective strategies to end sexual and gender-based violence must engage with men and boys. However, as highlighted by a new IDS policy brief, the relationship between traditional women’s rights movements and organisations working on engaging men and boys is an uneasy one. The paper makes recommendations on how to build better alliances for the future.

This woman protestor’s placard reads “Shame on men, harassment is disgrace and dishonour”
A street protest against sexual harassment. The placard on the left says “We will not be afraid”.
A young woman protests in the street. Her placard reads My freedom is my dignity
A young woman protests in the street. Her placard reads “My freedom is my dignity”.
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Case Studies

Find out how one group reflects on their work

Key Reading

Our selection of key research documents

Emerging conclusions and findings

Details of our initial findings from our collective actor studies

An innovative approach

The value of collective action in tackling GBV

Institute of Development Studies (IDS) researchers are asking how taking a collective approach brings positive change in terms of tackling gender-based violence. They are focusing on six countries, mapping successful interventions and approaches. The ultimate aim of the study is to draw key lessons for policy and practice from across the country examples, but it is anticipated that the emerging country-specific information will be extremely rich and useful for informing national and local planning on gender-based violence.

How can organisations work together to tackle GBV more effectively, and what examples are there of successful collective action against GBV?

Participatory research in Egypt, Uganda, Kenya, India, Sierra Leone and South Africa will address this question.

Read more about our research methodology

In the news

  • Mean Streets: Identifying and Responding to Urban Refugees' Risks of GBV

    This report synthesizes learning from four urban settings around the globe: Kampala (Uganda), Quito (Ecuador), Beirut (Lebanon) and Delhi (India). It contains recommendations on how humanitarian actors, including policymakers, donors and practitioners, can mitigate the gender-based violence risks faced by urban refugees.

    from Refugee Law Project/Women's Refugee Commission
  • Guidelines for investigating conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence against men and boys

    These guidelines, developed and produced by the Institute for International Criminal Investigations, are designed to assist criminal-justice and human-rights investigators, reporters and monitors around the globe to fully and properly monitor, document and investigate those forms sexual and gender-based violence against men and boys that may amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide and other violations of international humanitarian, criminal and human-rights law.

    from Refugee Law Project/Institute for International Criminal Investigations
  • MenEngage Partnership & Accountability blog series

    MenEngage have brought together a blog series on accountability, tackling issues such as accountability to the women's and social justice movements for those working with men and boys for gender equality. Readers are invited to join the discussion, including via a link to the Interactions SGBV Dialogues post from Amel Fahmy in which she relays her ‘Aha’ moment on involving men and boys in addressing gender-based violence. 

    from MenEngage