step by step guide for men to promote gender equality
You Too

A Step by Step Guide for Men to Fight Against Gender Discrimination

Complete elimination of systematic gender discrimination needs the active involvement of people of all genders. Gender discrimination is not ONLY as women’s problem, it’s a developmental problem. Like other Sustainable Development Goals by the United Nations, gender equality is an issue of human rights and humanity. As we acknowledge the fact that gender equality is not women’s issues, we should encourage men to work as allies to achieve gender parity. For that purpose, we’ve tried to simply the issue of gender equality for men and boys in this post. And we hope this will serve as a guide for men and boy to fight against gender discrimination.

Men and boys should work as allies with women 


I urge all men and boys to please wake up and take a step forward, however small it may be, to end gender discrimination from your personal life and community. Remember, you too have a huge responsibility to ensure that your daughters, sisters, and mothers live in a safer and equal society. Please ensure that your loved ones are not victims of any harmful social practice of the patriarchal society.


But I also accept the fact that fighting against gender discrimination could be quite challenging for men and boys, depending on one’s social and cultural background. I have tried to outline below a step by step guide for men and boys to fight against gender discrimination and to be a change agent in promoting women empowerment.


1. Understand the issue 

Spend some time in reading and understanding gender based issues in the global as well as your local context. Do your own research to be aware about the pressing concerns over gender inequality and how it can affect the growth and economic development of societies.

Achieving Gender Equality by 2030 is one of theSustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.You can read about many valuable resources, facts, programs and campaignsundertaken by the UN and its different agencies.

Along with knowing the gender equality issues on the global context, you can read or refer to some very useful books to understand why women’s rights of equality are so important and how to tackle some issues as a man or boy-

Men’s Guide to Feminism: 5 Books on Feminism Every Man Should Read

The UN Women has a lot of eLearning resources to guide men to eliminate gender discrimination and fight for equality.


2. Look around yourself

Look around yourself  and your surroundings to find out signs of gender-based differences and discrimination. Do you and your partner, your mother and father, brother and sister, son and daughter enjoy the same rights, privileges, opportunities in their every day lives towards pursuing their career goals, education, expressing their social and political views or leading their lives the way they want? If not, do you think their ‘gender’ has a role to play in it?

Here are a list of self-reflection exercise on the concept of gender roles and norms.

In your culture or society-

  • How boys and girls expected to behave?
  • How boys and girls expected to express their emotions?
  • What is not allowed for men and woman?
  • What qualities are valued in men and women?
  • Are both men and women have similar rights and freedom?
  • Do men and women have equal access to assets, education and power?



3. Challenge your own thoughts

There are many social and cultural customs which oppress women and violet their rights. They may exist in your life for years but you may not even be ready to accept that they are harmful. Challenge your own thoughts and unconscious biases. Success in eliminating gender inequality lies to a great extent in accepting the fact that it exists in each of our lives, in each and every family and household, sometimes in a rather subtle way.


4. Identify the areas you want to bring changes

You might or might not have an active role in promoting gender discrimination. But you would most likely have some passive involvement in that. Ask yourself where you could be most effective in bringing changes. What you can and can not do to eliminate these gender-based biases which are currently existing in your life or in the lives of people around you.


5. Set up a personal goal and support system

Define your short and long-term goals. Decide the causes which you strongly support and the changes which you want to bring. Once you know that, outline a plan about how you can achieve your goals. You can start with some small goals in your personal life or in your family. Furthermore, as a long-term goal, you can think of educating community members about gender discrimination, or being an advocate for gender equality and women empowerment.

Use internet to access and communicate with people and groups who are working in this field. HeForShe is United Nation’s Online Global Solidarity Movement for men to stand in solidarity with women to create a bold, visible and united force for gender equality. They help and support men to take tangible actions.

Men Advocating Real Change (MARC) is another organization working for workplace gender equality through effective partnership with men. You can also review their resources on Action for Men.

Men, Boys and Gender Equality is building an openly accessible basis of evidence and lessons for working with boys and men to promote gender equality, by gathering, inter-relating, analyzing and strategically disseminating evidence and lessons in targeted and accessible formats for improved learning, policy and practice. They have excellent evidence, case studies, tools and guidance for men fighting for women’s rights and equality.


6. Get started

The right time to start is NOW. Don’t sit and wait with the hope of the perfect opportunities to come your way. You can start with small goals like setting aside money for your daughter’s higher education or encouraging your wife to be economically independent. Try to ensure the rights and equality of women in your family first. You can also volunteer for organizations or community working for women’s rights. You can also create your own campaign in your community.


7. Consider stepping out of your comfort zone

It may be quite uncomfortable for you to bringing changes in your own life at the beginning. For instance, if you are a parent who’ve always taught your daughter to wear a certain type of dresses, or to behave in a certain way to ensure her safety, but never thought of educating your son to treat women with respect, you might find it extremely awkward and uncomfortable at the beginning to talk to your son about these issues. It is very pivotal to step out of your comfort zone when are a change maker.


8. Learn to face obstacles and disappointments

There will be a lots of obstacles and backlashes from people around you. Remember, all changes face a lot of resistance at the beginning by the society. You may feel, your efforts are not taking you anywhere. please stay strong in front of  criticism, resistance or opposition. You may need to remind yourself very often about the higher purpose you are working for. It’s also important for you to have the access of other people who are working in the same field and motivate and support you.


9. Be a Role Model

Try to Influence everybody around you. Share your story. Set examples, be a role model. Present yourself in your home, school, workplace or community as an advocate of gender equality. This will help you to create your own identity as a change maker. You may not be able change everything, but can influence many people to think out of the box and to take actions. Hope this guide for men to fight against gender discrimination was helpful to you!



You may also like to read  You Too  and Eliminate Gender Discrimination by Building Self Awareness aimed to encourage and support men and boys to fight for a gender equal world.





A Clinical Researcher by profession, I am originally from India; now live in California with my family. I am an advocate of gender equality and women empowerment. I am also a Certified Reiki Healer and a Certified Sexual Assault Counselor and Advocate. I write about women's rights, equality and gender based issues to create awareness and to include every body in my fight against gender discrimination.


  • Kat

    Wonderful post! I’ve never heard of the UN goal of Gender Equality by 2030, so thank you for bringing that to my attention. I will do more research into this topic!

    • Swagata Sen

      Thanks Kat! I am glad that you liked it. Yes, Gender Equality is one of the 17 sustainable Development Goals by the United Nations, targeted to be achieved by 2030.

  • Doug Paulson

    You brought up some excellent points. Women need to have the same rights and protections as everybody else. They deserve no less. We are all the same regardless of gender or race, so why should they be treated differently? In some cultures this problem is VERY large. It is a big problem and sadly it will take time for change to come about. Changing an older mans views on this I believe will be a very slow process, but needs to change regardless. I think we need to ultimately start by teaching our sons to look at things differently. These young boys are the future, and if we instill in them when they are young the correct way to treat females, then finally as they age, the mentality will start changing. I also believe that we all need to stand up for the rights of these young girls to get a good education. By having this education, they no longer have to be dependent on men to survive. Education for both the girls and boys will make a huge difference I think. Everybody should stand up and support this movement to make the world a better and safer place for all girls and women. Thanks for sharing this excellent article Swagata!

  • Swagata Sen

    Thanks so much for such a generous and positive feedback, Doug. It really means a lot. I agree with you on the importance of education , and have been trying to promote the value of girls education both online and offline.

  • Nader Moavenian

    As the Human Rights must be institutionalized across the globe likewise Equal Rights for Women must be accepted by all nations for humanity so men would not be ashamed of how their mothers, sisters and daughters are treated.

  • Scott J DeNicola

    I think in the US we are starting to see a bit of a shift in equality and its been a long time coming. When I was in school many many many years ago we never learned much about the inequality that was happening in the world. There seems to be more discussions around the topic now but still not enough. Some of the education has to happen at home as well. Thank you for your continued effort to bring these issues to the forefront.

  • Mary Lentz

    I traveled the world and was surprised at some of the cultural differences when it came to viewing women. I’m sure many men will benefit from reading this when they aren’t sure where to start.

  • In The Pastel Bag by Joanna

    This is an inspiring post. It encourages both women and men to reflect on their contribution to gender equality and equity. It can help men to acknowledge and appreciate the significance of their role.

  • tcleland88

    Great action steps. Becoming well-informed about the issues is always a good place to start. Many of us are not as aware of global issues as we should be.

  • Nina

    Love the, “Challenge your own thoughts’! We get so comfortable with what’s the norm that we just go with the flow. Unknowingly, we become part of the cause of inequality. I believe that men and women both have important roles to play to make equality a reality!

    • Swagata Sen

      Most of the time we are controlled by our unconscious biases without even realizing that. It is very important to challenge our own thoughts and question our own biases before we can start our fight for equality

  • Luna S

    This is a wonderfully written post and it points out a lot of helpful information, thank you for putting this together.

  • Johnny Quid

    This is an awesome list of steps. As men, many of us feel like the fight against gender discrimination is a “feminist battle”, but men need to get actively involved in this as well. We need to recognize that gender discrimination exists and stop making excuses for it.

    • Swagata Sen

      Yes, I think fighting for gender discrimination is exactly similar to fighting for any other human rights! I don’t agree that it is a feminist issue, I feel it is as issue of violation of a fundamental human rights.

  • Erica (The Prepping Wife)

    As a white female, I can’t really say I’ve thought about this much because it isn’t as much of an issue for me. This post reminds me that just because it doesn’t affect me, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t stand up for it. Which you covered in the not waiting for the perfect opportunity point. If we all waited for the perfect moment, nothing would ever happen.

  • Debra Roberts

    As a nurse, it’s still mind-blowing the inequality I see with certain cultures. You would think that when they migrate to the US, they would also want to escape the demeaning ways that women are suppressed and treated in their home countries. When I learned that female circumcision is still practiced by some of the Somalis here, I was sick to my stomach. The idea that this is still happening and not a means for criminal punishment is horrible. We are getting better, but not as fast as we might like.

  • mayurisjikoni

    Even by 2030 I do not see India heading towards gender equality. I would have presumed that the young educated 70% majority of the population would bring about changes in their behavior and thinking about women and tradition. However, even though a woman goes out to work and shoulders equal responsibilities in running the household, the same cannot be said about men. Major education is required to teach mothers to teach their boys to respect women.

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