On 24th and 25th of April, 2019, Dr. Henri Myrttinen from International Alert facilitated a masculinities training workshop for the CGDS team at The American University of Iraq, Sulaimani, A-F2-36, and staff members of Qandil, Women’s Legal Assistance, and People’s Development Organisation. A total of 15 guests attended this training that was a for CGDS and NGO staff members. The training lasted for two days and covered subjects such as masculinities during conflict and peacebuilding, theories of masculinity, militarised masculinity, and efforts to transform masculinity.
The discussions included a diverse range of issues including the invisibility of male vulnerabilities and how men have to ‘not show a feminine side,’ expressed through ‘‘weakness’ or emotion, to be considered valid members of society. Comparisons were made between masculinity and femininity, questioning the qualifications of women in power, and women’s need to justify their careers and choices when holding political positions.
The workshop ended with suggestions for reform and change through training workshops which require roleplaying as different family members, group counseling sessions within the family, and income generating activities. This training workshop empowers the CGDS team to start the Gender, Justice and Security Hub, a research project in collaboration with LSE’s Center for Women, Peace and Security.