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UN gender equality report gives insight into Arab male identity

Do Arab men support gender equality? What challenges do they face in their daily lives? What does it mean to be a man in the Middle East and North Africa in 2017?

These are some of the questions that 10,000 men and women across Egypt, Morocco, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories were asked in the International Men and Gender Equality Study in the Middle East and North Africa (IMAGES MENA).

“The findings are, in essence, a powerful riposte to the ‘why-do-they-hate-us?’ characterization of men in the region which has come to shape media coverage and policy making in many quarters,” Shereen El Feki, a writer on sexuality in the Arab region and co-principal investigator of the report, tells CNN.

The report by gender equality organization Promundoand UN Women claims to be the most extensive comparative study of men related to gender equality ever undertaken in the region.

El Feki, author of the 2013 book “Sex and the Citadel: Intimate Life in a Changing Arab World“, says without involving men in discussions, society is unable to close the region’s gender gap.

She co-lead the research of the report with Gary Barker, CEO of Promundo.

“We are only going to get so far in trying to level the playing field and promote women’s rights, if we don’t bring men along with us.”



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