Gender Responsiveness Assessment Scale (GRAS) and the elements of good practice for gender mainstreaming (GM) used
Both men’s groups were initially motivated by a perceived gender inequity with women. Many of the men believed that women dominated health services, were advantaged in family law, had shelters for respite from domestic violence, and did not always appreciate men’s efforts to contribute. However, values shifted over time, with some men now stating that they take a partnership approach to parenting and share housework. Men’s group leaders have also willingly collaborated with local women’s groups to rebuild family unity and take a stand against violence and abuse, and with non-Indigenous (including female) researchers to produce papers and reportsabout their work. They established clear ground rules so that female researchers men’s group meetings for men only. The empowerment framework and PAR reflective questioning have been importan tapproaches for addressing sensitive processes such as these.
The findings indicated that local Aboriginal men’s groups promoted social cohesion and worked to shift social norms towards respect, responsibility and improved wellbeing for men and their families. Findings from two studies recognised that men’s groups provided both a means for supporting men to cope with the pressures of their daily lives and for influencing underlying determinants of their health and wellbeing.
Self-reported benefits from the groups included improved social and emotional wellbeing, modest lifestyle modifications and willingness to change current notions of ‘gendered’ roles within the home, such as sharing housework. The findings to date suggest that through promoting empowerment, wellbeing and social cohesion for men and their families, men’s support groups may be saving costs through reduced expenditure on health care, welfare, and criminal justice costs, and higher earnings. However further research is needed to demonstrate the latter.