Gizonduz: Information.


Gizonduz was created in 2007 and is currently the Service for working with men and masculinities for equality of the Basque Government, managed by Emakunde-Basque Women's Institute and aimed at promoting awareness, participation and involvement of men for the equality of women and men, as well as the promotion of diverse and egalitarian masculinities.

Its objectives are the following:

• To increase the number of men, especially young men, leaders and from strategic sectors, sensitized, trained and committed in favor of equality of women and men, and against male violence.

• To increase men's co-responsibility in domestic and care work and to generalize among them the ethics and practice of care in order to achieve a balanced distribution of such work, for their own and others' development and well-being and to reduce gender inequalities, male violence and risky behaviors that are harmful to people and the environment.

• Increase the number of men, especially young men, with problematic macho behaviors who have been assisted or referred to other services in order to change their behaviors.

• Increase the number of organizations that develop, specifically or transversally, activities in the field of men, equality and masculinities.

• Increase the number of organizations that collaborate with Emakunde in the framework of Gizonduz.

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The reasons for this initiative are as follows:

a) Inequalities between women and men persist.

The role that women and men have traditionally played in society is undergoing a major transformation. The greater participation of women in the labor market, their access to all levels of education, their greater access to training and culture and, to a lesser extent, to decision-making spheres, are generating social changes that are favorable for progress on the road to equality between women and men.

However, data on the labor market, socio-political participation, domestic work, poverty, violence against women, etc., continue to show the existence of inequality in the social position of women, which has its origin in stereotypes and socio-cultural patterns of behavior based on sex, which assign to women the responsibility for the domestic sphere and to men that of the public sphere, on the basis of a very unequal valuation and economic and social recognition.

b) Men's participation in domestic work and pro-equality activities is low.

In spite of the fact that men are theoretically in favor of equality between women and men, in practice, their involvement in the achievement of such equality is still insufficient, as can be inferred from their low participation, in comparison with women, in the performance of domestic and care work and in activities in favor of equality and against male violence against women.

c) Equality is not possible without the involvement of men.

The generalized incorporation of women into the labor market, their participation in all levels of education, their greater access to training, culture and decision-making spheres are generating favorable changes for progress towards a more just and egalitarian society. However, this important transformation of the role of women in society and their growing incorporation into areas traditionally considered as masculine, is not being accompanied by a significant assumption by men of domestic work or of the rest of the functions and values traditionally considered as feminine, and women's change is not enough to achieve real equality, nor are they the only ones interested in achieving a more egalitarian society.

d) Achieving equality affects all people, women and men, and can benefit all.

A new model of coexistence based on respect and equality would not only benefit women, but society as a whole, including men, because although it is true that the current patriarchal social system confers some privileges on women as a group -among others, that they generally enjoy higher incomes, levels of power and greater authority in the public sphere, or that they benefit from the domestic and care work carried out by women in the majority- it is no less true that this system, based on a differentiation of roles and responsibilities between men and women, is based on a differentiation of roles and responsibilities, While it is true that the current patriarchal social system confers certain privileges on men as a group - including the fact that they generally enjoy higher incomes, levels of power and greater authority in the public sphere, or that they benefit from the domestic and care work performed by the majority of women - it is no less true that this system, based on a rigid differentiation of roles and expectations according to gender, also has its costs for men. In general, men have a shorter life expectancy, are more prone to drug addiction, traffic accidents, the most serious occupational accidents, school failure, violent death and imprisonment. Moreover, to the extent that they have been socialized to fulfill the role of main breadwinner in their families, they suffer greater pressure in the employment sphere to lengthen their working hours, which means that they spend their lives largely in the productive world and do not develop their full potential and capabilities, especially those related to the reproductive and emotional world. Not to mention the cost of the misunderstanding, and even in some cases social rejection, suffered by those men who step out of the prevailing social role and dare to publicly assume behaviors and functions traditionally considered "feminine".

In short, we live in a society that, in addition to discriminating against women, generates dissatisfaction in both women and men and, for this reason, the challenge of this century must be to build a new social model that is more democratic, fair and egalitarian, where all people are free and autonomous, both in the public and private spheres, so that they can develop all their personal capacities and make decisions without the limitations imposed by traditional gender roles and stereotypes, and in which the different behaviors, aspirations and needs of women and men are taken into account, valued and promoted equally. To this end, it is essential that more and more men are willing to question the traditional model of masculinity, to renounce the privileges that the patriarchal system can bring them, to free themselves from the burdens of a misunderstood masculinity, and to commit themselves, together with women, actively to the achievement of this new society composed of people with more freedom and integrity.

e) Working with men and masculinities is a legal obligation.

The consolidated text of the Law for the equality of women and men and lives free of gender-based violence against women raises the need and obligation to develop, in addition to specific actions, a cross-cutting and multilevel approach to equality policies aimed at men, as well as greater intervention in the area of secondary prevention of gender-based violence.

f) There are also favorable conditions.

In recent years there has been an exponential growth in interest and demand from citizens and public and private entities for working with men and masculinities for equality.

Furthermore, both the Country Pact for equality and lives free of violence against women presented by the Lehendakari in 2022 and the 2030 Estrategy for the equality of women and men, expressly include commitments and objectives aimed at the involvement of men and boys in favor of equality.

On the other hand, it has been more than thirty-five years since the public institutions of our Community have been working to promote the effective equality of women and men and more than 15 years since Gizonduz was created. This previous experience in the development of equality policies places the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country in a favorable position to develop a stable line of intervention focused on men and masculinities within the framework of equality policies.

Moreover, as the surveys show, a majority of men are theoretically in favor of gender equality. It is therefore a matter of encouraging this majority discourse in favor of equality to be accompanied by a more egalitarian daily practice.

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In order to achieve its objectives, within the framework of Gizonduz, a series of measures related to awareness, training, counseling, promotion, prevention, collaboration, knowledge generation and internationalization are proposed.

All of this is based on the premise that awareness-raising and training are the key to changing mindsets and behavior, and that specific measures for men to increase their awareness and commitment to gender equality will facilitate greater progress in changing the currently prevailing sociocultural models or patterns of behavior based on gender, a change that is essential to correct the processes or factors that generate the structural situation of inequality suffered by women and to strengthen the opportunities for human development for both women and men.

Gizonduz was launched in November 2007 and from the beginning has had people with training in equality and masculinity and with experience in working with men for equality.

This initiative aimed specifically at men is part of a general and comprehensive approach to the promotion of equality between women and men that is embodied in the Law for the equality of women and men and lives free of sexist violence against women and the 2030 Estrategy for the equality of women and men, where priority is given to the objective of promoting personal autonomy and strengthening the social, economic and political position of women and where measures to encourage the involvement of men are considered as a necessary complement for the achievement of this objective. All this, from a human rights, feminist, intersectional, integral, transformative and positive approach. In other words, the aim is to promote structural changes in the social norms and values associated with masculinity and to generate processes of change and transformation that, without blaming men and based on empathy, facilitate their awareness and commitment to the personal and collective responsibility they have in achieving a more just and egalitarian society.

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As a first action, on November 5 and 6, 2007, the International Congress on Masculinity and Everyday Life was held in Donostia-San Sebastián, which brought together a large number of experts from different countries and was attended by around 400 people.

During the same month, the awareness campaign "Equality makes you more of a man", was also carried out, aimed specifically at men to promote their active commitment in favor of equality between women and men, and which consisted of the broadcasting of an advertisement on Basque public television (ETB-1 and ETB-2).

In April 2008, the Lehendakari publicly presented the Basque Men's Charter for Equality and against Violence against Women. The Charter was supported, among other men, by representatives from the world of politics, culture, sports, the media, as well as by men who in recent years have created think tanks and have worked in our Community on equality and masculinities. In the year of its public presentation, different activities were carried out to raise awareness and disseminate it, such as posters, advertisements in the press and radio, a newspaper and the installation of information tents and the collection of signatures in different localities. Both the Basque Parliament and numerous city councils and other public and private institutions collaborated in the dissemination of the Charter and in the collection of signatures. Thanks to all this, more than 10,000 Basque men signed the Charter in one year.

Also in April 2008, a specific web space was created for Gizonduz on the Basque Government website (, with extensive information on the initiative in different media, as well as sections with interviews, documentation, bibliography, videos, links to websites of interest, etc. In addition, from July 2008 to 2018, the Gizonduz blog, a space open to citizens so that they can express their opinions, reflections and comments on current issues related to equality, men and masculinities, was in operation on this website. Likewise, since December 2009, Gizonduz has been present on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter (X), and since 2022, Instragram.

In September 2008, the Gizonduz backpack for fathers was launched. Between then and February 2011, nearly 30,000 backpacks were distributed to men who were going to be biological or adoptive fathers, through midwives and the competent bodies of the provincial councils in the field of adoption. It includes a set of awareness-raising materials aimed at providing guidelines on issues related to care and fatherhood, as well as providing keys to reflect on the influence of the father figure in the transmission of non-sexist values. Specifically, these materials are the following: the documentary "Fathers", the story "El Secreto de Aita", the guide "Padres en Igualdad", the guide "Los hombres, la igualdad y las nuevas masculinidades", the game "Berdinometroa", a sticker to place in the car and the newspaper Gizonduz.

On the occasion of the commemoration of November 25, 2008, the event "Basque men against violence against women" was held on November 24, 2008 at the Bilbao Bellas Artes Museum, presided over by the Lehendakari and attended by more than 200 people, mostly men, from various areas of Basque society such as politics, culture, sports, the media, the economic world, social movements, etc.

In March 2009, the Gizonduz Awareness and Training Program. This is a set of courses, both face-to-face and online, which are characterized by their free nature, their wide and varied offer and their adaptability and flexibility. They are tailored to demand, both in terms of length and content, as well as in terms of the place where they are held and the people to whom they are addressed. Although women can also participate in them, these courses are especially aimed at men who individually or collectively, either from a purely personal interest and/or from a professional perspective, want to be trained or deepen their knowledge of what equality between women and men is and how to work in favor of it, In this sense, issues related to men, equality, masculinities and subjects as diverse as health, care, paternity, sexuality, aging, climate change, discrimination and gender violence, road safety, prevention of drug addiction, crime, etc. are addressed. Since the start of the Gizonduz training and awareness program until December 2023, nearly 32,000 people have participated, 60% of them men, with a very high level of satisfaction (8.3 out of 10). The data also show that the training has had a notable impact on increasing awareness (4.8 points out 6) and knowledge (4.9 out of 6) on the subject on the part of the male participants. In addition, around 95% consider that the courses have been useful for their personal and professional life.

Between 2009 and 2012, Emakunde granted subsidies to men's associations for equality and mixed associations aimed at carrying out activities in favor of equality and against violence against women, such as awareness campaigns, training programs, conferences, meetings, etc.

In 2011, the digital document «Masculinities and equality: a multidisciplinary study», was published, aimed at all those people who, both from a personal and professional perspective, want to delve into issues related to men's values and behaviors, equality and masculinities and subjects as diverse as health, care, human rights, male violence, violence against women, road safety or the prevention of drug addiction and crime.

In June 2017, in collaboration with the public company EJIE, SA, the "Youth for equality" project was presented, which aims to promote awareness and involvement of adolescents and young people, and in particular men, in favor of equality between women and men and against violence against women, through the use of innovative educational tools, like an interactive comic book and a board game.

Since 2017 at the local level, and 2018 at the level of the Basque Government, processes have been developed for the constitution of groups of male politicians in favor of equality and against violence against women. These are spaces for training, reflection and exchange aimed at encouraging these men to promote equality in their sphere of influence and, in particular, to encourage the personal and collective commitment of other men to this cause. In addition, since 2021, online training sessions have been held periodically for men with political positions in Basque public institutions.

In 2018, the campaign "From words to action" was launched With this campaign, Basque men are expected to commit to carry out in their daily lives a series of specific actions in favor of equality, in areas such as co-responsibility, care, eradication of male violence, dissemination of egalitarian ideas or denouncing sexist messages and behaviors.

In 2020, in the midst of confinement, the campaign “In time of Coronavirus, +care. Let's do our part.”. Let's do our part." This campaign was aimed at men so that they would assume their share of domestic and care work, which still falls mostly on women, based on the premise that the crisis produced by COVID-19 was an opportunity to reflect and generate a positive change in men in favor of equality between women and men.

On the occasion of the commemoration of the 15th anniversary of the Gizonduz initiative, in 2022 the International Congress Men, Masculinities and Public Policies. Commitment to Equality, in order to publicize and reflect on the work carried out in the Basque Country in relation to public policies on equality aimed at men, share experiences and good practices that allow us to face the new challenges that arise, both legislatively and socially, establish and strengthen cross-cutting alliances with different sectors, make proposals for the future and seek the individual and collective commitment of men, particularly young men, for equality and for lives free of gender-based violence.

On the other hand, in order to encourage men to participate in university courses, masters and postgraduate courses on gender equality, these activities have been publicized through the Gizonduz website and social networks.

Since the launching of the initiative, many queries have been answered on the different aspects and measures of Gizonduz, both by individuals and by equality agents, Women's Institutes, legislative bodies, city councils, sports federations, associations, unions, companies, midwives, etc.

In addition, the program has been publicized and collaborated with organizations such as the United Nations or the European Institute for Gender Equality, equality bodies in several countries (Argentina, Chile, Uruguay...) and Spain (Canary Islands Institute for Equality, Andalusian Institute for Women, Barcelona City Council...). It has also participated in European projects such as GEMMA or Men in Care or international projects like Dare to Care led by UN Women Arab States.

Finally, it should be noted that since Gizonduz was launched and in order to publicize the initiative, Emakunde has participated in numerous awareness-raising activities (conferences, seminars, congresses, postgraduate courses, etc.) and has intervened in different media.

You have more information in the annual reports section.

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Looking ahead to 2024, within the framework of Gizonduz, the following measures are planned:

Reinforce lines of action that are already being developed, such as:

• The Awareness and Training Program, which offers free training to interested individuals and public and private organizations and in which training institutions such as the UPV/EHU, the IVAP or the Basque Academy of Police and Emergencies, among others, collaborate. There is a wide and varied offer and the courses deal with different topics such as discrimination and male violence, homophobia, co-responsibility, health, parenthood, sexuality, love, risk prevention, sports, the workplace, aging, climate change, etc.

• The Youth for equality Project, aimed at promoting equality and the prevention of violence among young people, through work sessions with teachers and students of formal and non-formal education centers, using innovative tools such as an interactive comic or the board game "Seduction with a hat", focused on promoting the emotional education of students, particularly boys.

Training and working with men in political office and other male leaders.

Campaigns for the involvement of men in care and equality: Father's Day, Gizonok Esan eta Egin, etc.

In addition, new measures will be implemented such as:

• A stable line of advice and support to public and private entities for the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of a plan, line of work or project in their entity aimed at working with men and masculinities for equality.

• A stable line of intervention for the awareness and training in equality of users and professionals of centers for the shelter and protection of minors.

• Training of professionals and development of a pilot experience for the assistance of men, particularly young men, with problematic male chauvinist behavior who wish to modify their behavior.

• The study "The Man Box". The work to be carried out consists of replicating in the CAE the methodological deployment of the study "The Man Box: construction, attitudes and impact on Spanish youth”, which was developed by Fundación FAD Juventud at the national level.

• A new evaluation of the Gizonduz program, in order to assess its achievements, detect areas for improvement and compare it with other similar initiatives, using the methodological proposal of MenEngage Alliance and FemJust to advise on the development and evaluation of policies aimed at men from an accountability perspective.

• The development of a guide with guidelines for incorporating the perspective of men and masculinities in public policies.

• An Advisory Committee made up of experts in the field of feminism and other social movements and organizations that can contribute to improving the functioning of the service.

Training professionals and raising awareness in the sports field to promote equality and the prevention of violence in this field, in collaboration with the Basque Government Sports Directorate and the Union of Basque Sports Federations.

Teacher training on masculinities, prevention of male violence and good treatment, in collaboration with the Department of Education of the Basque Government.

• Collaboration with eLankidetza and UN Women for the development of the international project "Dare to Care", led by UN Women.

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Working with men and masculinities for equality in the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country faces the following challenges:

• To respond to the exponential growth of interest and demand from citizens and public and private entities for working with men and masculinities for equality.

• To respond to the Country Pact for Equality presented by the Lehendakari in 2022, as well as to the new mandates incorporated in the 2022 reform of the Law for Equality, which raise the need and obligation to develop, in addition to specific actions, a transversal and multilevel approach to equality policies aimed at men, as well as greater intervention in the area of secondary prevention of gender-based violence

• To increase, in a context of the rise of neo-machism, alliances with feminist groups, men's groups in favor of equality, as well as with other organizations and institutions in order to respond to the new needs and demands of today's society in relation to equality.

• To continue increasing the number of men who are aware of and committed to equality, working from an intersectional approach, with new groups, as well as with men who are leaders in strategic sectors (politics, economy, culture, youth...) so that they can promote equality in their spheres of influence and have a multiplying effect in the search for personal and collective commitment to equality.

• To deepen evaluation and accountability to ensure that the work is carried out from a transformative and continuous improvement approach and that it benefits women, men and society as a whole.

With all this work, we want to build in our Community a critical mass of men involved in favor of equality who question traditional masculinity and bet on more egalitarian ways of life that serve as a reference for other men and, above all, for the following generations. All this, in the conviction that the promotion of equality and the questioning of traditional or patriarchal masculinity is a matter of justice and human rights that benefits not only women, but society as a whole and men themselves, insofar as it favors the development of their personality in a more integral way and freer of gender stereotypes and more satisfactory personal relationships and relationships with the environment.

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