This report provides an in-depth exploration of how to engage with men and boys to address social norms connected to masculinity and challenge and change harmful gender stereotypes in the UK today. The research was commissioned in 2019 by the Government Equalities Office. The primary aim of the project was to consolidate existing knowledge from both research and practitioner experience, and apply that with an engagement toolkit which sits alongside this research report together with a longer literature review. There is surprisingly little research in the UK context on how to engage with men and boys in relation to gendered social norms. As such, this research should be understood as a starting point to open up discussions in this area rather than the final word on the issue. ‘Social norms’ are implicit and informal rules of behaviour shared by members of a group or society, which most people within that group accept and abide by. ‘Gender norms’ define the different practices that are expected of women (i.e. what is understood as being ‘feminine’) and of men (i.e. what is seen as being ‘masculine’). There is ambiguity in the ways in which the concept of ‘gender norms’ is used, and different terms (e.g. ‘gender roles’, ‘masculinities’/’femininities’) often overlap or are used interchangeably. For the purposes of clarity, we prefer to use the term ‘gendered social norms’.
Burrell, S., Ruxton, S., & Westmarland, N. (2019). Changing Gender Norms: Engaging with Men and Boys. Government Equalities Office