The Rwanda Men’s Resource Centre (RWAMREC) through Prevention+ programme from 27th to 28th February 2019 conducted a-two-day training for editors of various media houses in Rwanda at Olympic Hotel in Kigali, Rwanda.
While officially opening the training, the Executive Director (ED) of RWAMREC, Fidel Rutayisire explained the mandate of RWAMREC saying that the organization does not promote men’s rights but rather promotes women’s rights.
“RWAMREC is a feminist men’s organization using male centered approach in promoting women’s rights and fighting Gender Based Violence (GBV). We do so by emphasizing the role of men as we are aware that men are the major perpetrators of GBV”, the ED explained.
He explained that RWAMREC believes that media has power to influence people’s attitude and change social values, being the reason RWAMREC through Prevention+ thought it important to train media on Gender Transformative Approach (GTA).
“Whatever is on TV, print, online we know what is behind it, it is social values. If you see most of the news is about politics and on men. Less publication is on gender and women. For example, during campaigns you will find that there is less analysis of presidential manifestation on gender and on ending GBV”, the ED observed.
“I wish you a good workshop and feel free to express any view regarding how to improve the status on report gender related matters. We hope there will be improvements in writing on these matters since this country is leading in promoting gender—yet women are still burdened by domestic work and women are still victims of violence”.
Participants listed what impresses them as people born female/males and what makes them uncomfortable. Later they discussed whether whatever has been stated cannot be done by the other. For example, if a man is happy of being the decision maker and worried of having every responsible to take care of the family, participants said that even women can and do the same. This meant that it is that the society has set like that but the reality is different.
It was also acknowledged that there are some characteristics, responsibilities that cannot change, which are naturally identified with men or women and the reverse cannot be possible. For only women can be pregnant, giving birth, breastfeed and undergo labour pain, while men can impregnate. This also includes one’s sex, being a male or female which makes a female and male have varying biological features.
Questions were asked to understand participants’ knowledge of gender and sex. These included “When I say men are better drivers,” “women are care givers, “is that gender or sex based? Some said gender while others said they are sex based. But later it was well established that it is all gender related.
Prevention+ in 2018 trained over 30 journalists on Gender equality, GBV prevention and masculinities, aiming at sharing experiences in engaging men to promote gender equality and gender justice—and increase media coverage of gender issues especially in the area of GTA.