During the 16 Days of Activism to Eliminate Violence Against Women, we will be sharing 16 ways you can be an ally and do your bit to end violence against women.

On Day 9, we ask that you encourage the men and boys in your life to reject macho stereotypes and embrace their emotional intelligence.

Men and boys are negatively impacted by gendered stereotypes just like women and girls. The traditional image of a man as being strong, silent and unemotional is detrimental to males, who feel that they cannot express their feelings freely. This can lead to poor mental health and feelings of isolation and has led the pervasive levels of male suicide in our society, with men being three times more likely to take their own lives than women.

Macho stereotypes can also produce men who are violent towards women. Reinforcing gender stereotypes creates power imbalances between men and women and puts women’s lives in danger. Minimising violence as ‘just what boys do’ creates a society where we do not challenge these stereotypes. So, we ask that you stop telling men and boys to “man up” and encourage them to be brave and talk about their feelings, not just for the women and girls in their lives, but for themselves too.

If you have been affected by domestic or sexual violence, you can get support from our 24 Hour Domestic & Sexual Violence Helpline on 0808 802 1414, or from a local Women’s Aid group. Find a group in your area here.