Jimmie Briggs, an American journalist and founder of ManUp Campaign, said he realised that his responsibility was to start being active and to hold himself and other men accountable for the injustice women face, to show and affirm to men a different way of being a man, and that just saying "I am not sexist" is not enough. He says he works on mentoring other men and holding them accountable for their inaction, as well as their action.
Sima Samar, chair of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, says she went through 12th grade education but had to marry in order to continue with a university education. Fortunately, her husband supported her but he disappeared under the Russian occupation. Samar then had to confront conservative men in her family and her in-laws who viewed her as their property and resisted her pursuing her academic studies. She now works for the empowerment of women and girls.
Sima Samar of Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission says culture isn't a set of rules that only applies to women. Religion has limitations for men and women. Culture has limitations for men and women. So we have to look at the issue in a way that reduces the negative impact on women's rights. #twconf12
Samar says women's rights and human rights are a political issue. Culture and religion have been used in Afghanistan to silence women. During the Russian invasion, women were completely sidelined and no one was talking about women's rights because they were supporting the Mujahaddin. By putting all the boys into religious schools during that period led to developing the foot soldiers for the Taliban. Now, Samar says women must challenge how culture is used against women. "Culture is not a set of rules that only apply to women. Religiion has limits for both men and women. We have to look at how to reduce the negative impact on women's rights," she said. .
Jimmie Briggs says we have to begin the process of decriminalising men as a whole. Yes, there are individual situations of men violating the rights of loved ones or women and girls around them but we have to create a space for men and boys to feel this work is theirs as well. These are human challenges that affect men and boys. We have to start education and conversations much earlier. #twconf12
Van Oranje says there is not one religion that says "Marry your girls before they are 18;" or one culture that says "Harm your women." These behaviours are created by men, so we need to recognise that they can be changed. She quoted one of the Elders who says, 'Tradition is created by man and so it can be changed by man.'