3 out of 4 women whose partners have attended Mauro Antonio Vargas Urías’ programs, report reduced violence and feeling increasingly safe in their relationship. This ground-breaking project, a tailored model for Latin America, marks the first time the Kering Foundation has awarded a social enterprise grant to an initiative working directly with men on the topic of masculinities. The sessions seek to create an alternative, new group culture among men as a means to generate individual change.
Vargas Urías, a trained facilitator and psychotherapist, brings his experience as a counselor and in analyzing masculinities to work with men to question their role in a gender-biased, violent social system. Two-hour weekly group sessions have already explored with more than 700 men how each is responsible for his own actions. Each constructs their own road map to agree upon actions with their partners to prevent further violence.
“I realized how crucial it was to transform macho masculinity to end gender-based violence. Our counselors have the power of empathy, even towards men who are hard to understand and have been aggressive with their partners. We use the magic of listening and understanding to confront men, so they can acknowledge their mistakes, get in touch with their feelings and change their behaviors. After participating in our sessions, men are able to create ‘equality plans’ to make amends with those they have hurt, and they commit to building egalitarian relationships based on dialogue, intimacy and the construction of agreements.”
“In GENDES, we have the power of identifying harmful gender norms, especially those related to macho masculinity. With our training, men realize that violence is not normal, natural or fair and they see the importance of giving up their privilege and questioning the authority that society has given them for being born male.” Mauro Antonio Vargas Urías, founder of GENDES