Global social work project explores men’s involvement in gender justice

Liza Lorenzetti, left, and Aamir Jamal. Riley Brandt, University of Calgary
Liza Lorenzetti, left, and Aamir Jamal. Riley Brandt, University of Calgary
UCalgary researchers say men play a critical role in preventing gender-based violence, but their involvement in these programs and social movements is limited. Male leaders and peers can have a big influence on their communities and can provide support and training, so everyone benefits.

Dr. Liza Lorenzetti, PhD, and Dr. Aamir Jamal, PhD, in the Faculty of Social work are co-leading a project that includes partners in Canada and six other countries: Afghanistan, the Caribbean, Mexico, Nepal, Pakistan, and the Philippines. One of the project’s goals includes expanding and strengthening their international community practice with an interdisciplinary group of academics, practitioners, community leaders, and activists. Another focus will be on working with each country’s local communities to explore the entry points and trajectories that men take to get involved in gender justice work.

Government of Canada funding

A total of six projects led by UCalgary researchers were awarded funding through the SSHRC partnership Development Grant Competition. The grants support new partnership approaches that can result in best practices or models - and can be adapted by others or have the potential to be scaled up to a regional, national, or international level.

"It is important to foster and build new research partnerships," says Dr. William Ghali, vice-president (research). "They are instrumental in mobilizing knowledge and designing innovative research approaches. The potential for our partnerships to develop models and best practices that can be scaled up is truly exciting."

Community work

Through their collaborative work with the Alberta Men’s Network and the Alberta Network of Immigrant Women, Lorenzetti, Jamal, and their research team are making a profound impact within the Calgary community. T he team is currently overseeing the facilitation of five diverse ethnocultural community well-being groups, and providing training to men who are role models and peers, equipping them to lead these groups.

"Expertise is really in the community," says Lorenzetti. "The difference between this model and traditional counselling is that it is led by peers who are also working on their own growth and development. The groups touch on the things that are most important to those men, looking at issues of power and gender roles, but at the same time sharing migration experiences, discrimination, racism, coloniality, which are global issues. All of these conversations create that ethical space, that safe space for men to work on their own transformation and growth."

In a broader, global context, their partners in Pakistan and Afghanistan have shown interest in the promotion of girls’ education and the collaborative efforts of men to advance this cause. "Our goal extends beyond providing support; we aim to learn from the strategies and leaders within these local communities," says Jamal.

UCalgary’s SSHRC Partnership Development Grant recipients

Aliya Kuzhabekova, Werklund School of Education
Exploration of Research Misconduct in a Non-Western Context: The Case of Kazakhstan

Petra Dolata, Faculty of Arts
From Treaty to Land Claim: Energy, Environment, and Dene and Métis Ways of Life in the Sahtú Region

Regine King, Social Work 
Co-Constructing Knowledge to Address Gender-Based Violence for Black Girls and Women in Alberta

Liza Lorenzetti, Social Work 
Transforming Masculinities: Capacity-Building for Men for GBV Prevention and Gender Justice

Shelly Russell-Mayhew, Werklund School of Education
Teachers of Tomorrow: Mobilizing Partnerships for School Wellness Across the Education System

Jennifer Thannhauser, Werklund School of Education
Resilience in the Post-Secondary Context: An Exploration of Students’ Experiences