Men can become allies in ending violence against women and children by “dismantling the man box” says Ms. Renz Prudenciado, resource person for the webinar hosted by the National Research Council of the Philippines in November 2021, in observance of the 18-day campaign on VAWC. Ms. Prudenciado is a former NRCP staff and currently taking up MS in Gender and Development at the Asian Institute of Technology in Bangkok, Thailand. The man box referred to are the long-held beliefs, traditional practices, and traits of men being dominant, tough, and invulnerable. “Dismantling the man box encourages reforming this thought and beliefs system,” she added.1

Ms. Renz Prudenciado presented “Masculinity matters: Engaging men in ending Violence against Women and Children” in a webinar entitled “Of Safe Spaces and Masculinity” held on 7 December 2021 held at the NRCP Auditorium and online.

 The theories that are believed to be contributing to gender inequality and violence are Social Dominance and Ambivalence Sexism theories which project men as dominant, strong, and powerful, while women as fragile. She highlighted the important role of media in changing the portrayal of men from invisible or perpetrators of violence against women to encouraging men to challenge the traditional norms and beliefs about masculinity and create safe spaces for women and children.

2

Ms. Cherry Gonzales presented the “Briefer on Safe Spaces Act” in a webinar entitled “Of Safe Spaces and Masculinity” held on 7 December 2021 held at the NRCP Auditorium and online as part of the campaign to end violence against women

Landmark legislation that aims to protect women was passed into law in 2019. The second topic of the webinar was discussed by Ms. Cherry Gonzales, Planning Officer and member of the GAD Focal Point System of NRCP. She briefed the webinar participants about the Safe Spaces Act of 2019 or Republic Act No. 11313, “An Act Defining Gender-Based Sexual Harassment in Streets, Public Spaces, Online, Workplaces, and Educational or Training Institutions, Providing Protective Measures and Prescribing Penalties Therefor”. The said law is regarded as an expansion of RA 7877 or the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995. The attendees, totaling 67 NRCP employees (36 males and 31 females), were encouraged to promote safe spaces and refrain from committing any form of gender-based sexual harassment wherever they may be.

3

 Changing the culture and instituting policies work hand-in-hand in achieving gender equality and ending violence against women and children. Both are essential elements that can pave the way toward a just and inclusive society with respect for all genders.

(Exen Bantiyan Claro, DOST-NRCP)