Progress towards gender equality is held back by unequal power relations between women and men. Overcoming this barrier requires not only laws and policies but also a change in attitudes and behaviors. Men need to engage other men in finding solutions.
The Barbershop concept looks at innovative ways for men to mobilize and motivate other men to address discriminatory stereotypes of masculinity. It identifies ways for men to talk about gender equality in comfortable and safe environment, and addresses how male leaders can drive this dialogue forward.
"Barbershops are known to be a safe place for men to speak freely and be more open about what is on their mind, much like the locker room. Let's bring the discussion here, let's talk amongst ourselves about what we can bring to the table, how we can play an integral part in the movement of change, be champions of HeForShe"
-Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson, Icelandic Minister for Foreign Affairs
The Barbershop is about rallying men and boys to commit to upholding gender equality and change the discourse among their peers to build a momentum for gender equality. It enlists its attendees to move away from a discourse loaded with negative gender stereotypes and expectations. Through their own behavior, men can work toward the positive transformation of social norms, examine the role of men as change agents on gender equality who take responsibility for their actions and encourage other men to join in. This will help stimulate a grassroots dialogue between/among men and build on the progress made by recent movements such as the HeForShe campaign.
Iceland has developed a Barbershop Toolbox to enable others to mobilize the men around them for gender equality. The Toolbox is part of Iceland's commitments to the HeForShe movement and can be accessed on their .
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