Gender Equality Impossible Without More Help from Boys and Men, Says Plan International

Sep 21, 2011, 09:45 ET from Plan International USA

Plan's 2011 Because I am a Girl report assesses the current state of the world's girls

WASHINGTON, Sept. 21, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Girls' standing in the world can't be improved without far more positive participation from the boys and men in their lives, a major report says.

The report, produced by international development organization Plan International, finds that fathers, brothers, boyfriends, and husbands play an essential role in creating true gender equality.  The report also makes recommendations for action, showing what can make a real difference in the lives of girls all over the world.

The report – So, what about boys? includes primary research with more than 4,000 children, revealing that many stereotypical beliefs about gender roles in society are still entrenched among the world's young people.

Plan International USA CEO Tessie San Martin said: "Unless young men and boys work alongside young women and girls, the cycle of gender inequality and violence will continue to move through generations. This report demonstrates that working together makes an enormous difference in the lives of millions of girls, their families, and their communities around the world."

The report's findings include:

  • 65% of participants from India and Rwanda totally or partially agreed with the statement: "A woman should tolerate violence in order to keep her family together." A further 43% agreed with the statement: "There are times when a woman deserves to be beaten."
  • More than 60% of children interviewed in India agreed with the statement: "If resources are scarce, it is better to educate a boy instead of a girl."
  • 67% of boys and 71% of girls in Rwanda and 83% of boys and 87% of girls in India agreed with the statement:  "Changing diapers, giving kids a bath and feeding kids are the mother's responsibility."
  • Children are actually happier when they see their parents sharing household responsibilities, rather than sticking to rigid gender roles.

Plan International CEO Nigel Chapman said: "It is widely recognized that empowering girls is a key to unlocking families from poverty and deprivation. But since we began monitoring the state of the world's girls back in 2007, we have rightly been asked: 'So, what about the boys?'

"Of course, many boys are affected by poverty, lack of opportunity and also violence. But girls face double discrimination by being young and by being female. Everyone, including boys, benefits from a more just, equal world, but it cannot be attained by girls alone – we must all play a more active part."

To bring about change, Plan is calling upon governments, leaders and communities to:

  • Transform school curriculum to challenge stereotypes and acknowledge differences;
  • Support girls' and boys' participation in the creation of policies to improve gender equality;
  • Make school safe for girls and boys; and
  • Challenge discrimination and engage men and boys.

For a full copy of "So, what about boys?" please visit:

Because I am a Girl is Plan's initiative to fight gender inequality, promote girls' rights and lift millions of girls out of poverty. Plan is producing one girl report each year in the run up to 2015, the target year for the Millennium Development Goals. Each report provides tangible proof of the inequalities that still exist between boys and girls.

Join our campaign and help us transform the lives of the world's poorest girls.

Plan International USA is part of a global organization that works side-by-side with communities in 50 developing countries to end the cycle of poverty for children.  Plan develops solutions community by community to ensure long-term sustainability.  Our solutions are designed up-front to be owned by the community for generations to come and range from clean water and healthcare programs to education projects and child protection initiatives.

For more information, please visit

SOURCE Plan International USA