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Gender inequality is one of the main human rights violations that manifests itself in the unequal opportunities of women and men in various domains of public life, including political representation and decision-making, economic opportunities and access to resources, empowerment in the family and vulnerability to discrimination and violence. The reasons for the unequal distribution of powers of women and men should be sought in the patriarchal norms that establish gender-based social roles and behaviour patterns accepted by the society. In the past, the gender inequality problems were perceived mostly as the ‘women’s issues’, while gender programs focused on improving the well-being of women. However, over the past decades, there has been a growing recognition of the need to involve men in promoting gender equality, in particular, through active participation in policies to combat and prevent gender-based violence.

One of the ways to start the discussion about the role, responsibilities and potential of men in advancing gender equality is to study the culture of masculinity, as it is responsible for determining and entrenchment of the prevailing men’s roles, patterns of behaviour and attitudes. In this way, we recognize that the evolvement of masculine identity is under the permanent pressure of society requiring that men’s behaviour should meet certain expectations and norms. Men’s socialization starts in the early childhood and faces many impacts, including upbringing and observation of marital relations in the parents’ family, school environment and relations with peers, information environment and the mass media. Widely accepted norms of male behaviour also determine what traits, attitudes and lifestyle patterns are expected from modern men by the society; these norms are not always favourable to their social well-being and quality of life. In particular, aggression and predisposition to violence are often perceived by most people as the negative aspects of manhood and masculine identity.

This research and publication of the report were supported by the UNFPA, United Nations Population Fund and the UK Government in cooperation with the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine. The findings, conclusions and recommendations. in this report do not necessarily coincide with the official positions of UNFPA or the UK Government.