FEDERAL FORUM MEN – Interest Association for Boys, Men and Fathers
FEDERAL FORUM MEN – Interest Association for Boys, Men and Fathers is a non-governmental and national umbrella organisation for German organisations working in the fields of boys-, men- and father work.
In 2008, several German organisations active in boys-, men- and fathers work discussed possible collaboration strategies on national level. This led to a network structure, which in November 2010 founded the FEDERAL FORUM MEN – interest association for boys, men and fathers (non-profit association).
Today the Forum counts 33 member organisations active in boys-, men- and fathers work in the areas education, violence, health, sexuality, religion, trade unions, social associations.
The joint work of the representation of political interest and professional networking is based on a political platform, which was elaborated and mutually agreed by the foundation members of the Forum.
The introduction of the Platform states:
The members of the FEDERAL FORUM MEN commit themselves to gender equity as basic principle for their mutual work and collaboration. By this means, they promote the equal perception of all genders in political and social design and therefore, reject any discrimination based on gender. Oriented on comprehensive societal equality, the members of the Forum contribute to encourage all genders in their respective developments, identities and diversity of life designs.
The work of the FEDERAL FORUM MEN takes place within the constructive dialogue between the genders. The Forum is fully committed to the solidarity among men and boys as well as to the solidarity with women.
The FEDERAL FORUM MEN is contact partner for governmental organisations, ministries, political groups and parties as well as for political foundations on national and regional level. On association level the Forum holds tight contact with the German Women’s Council.
The FEDERAL FORUM MEN has a honorary board. The head office has its seat in Berlin. Four expert groups work in the thematic fields of boys, men, fathers, elder men/seniors.
Men shape a future-orientated gender equality policy
For the FEDERAL FORUM MEN gender equity is fundamental for societal solidarity. A gender equality policy, which is meant to take this principle for serious, is build upon a collaborative and constructive discourse to the best way forward. In the last years gender equality strategies has expanded by the perspective of boys, men and fathers. The FEDERAL FORUM MEN welcomes this development. The foundation of the Forum reflects the upheaval into a new area of gender equality policy.
By linking forces are bundled. Now is the time to act jointly in order to overcome the societal pressure of – today’s outdated – roles, expectations and images of masculinity on boys, men and fathers. In fact, the aim is to enrich male life models and to move away from restricting role expectations and norms. The FEDERAL FORUM MEN is engaged to establish measures for boys and men in order to enable those in discovering new biographical paths and cooperative partnerships.
Gender equality does not have come free of charge. Faced with the crises in the financial and economic sector, the challenge grows to enforce gender equality projects against monetary „constraints“.
It is therefore all the most important to implement the perspective of a future-orientated gender equality policy into various policy fields such as labour, education, family, health, inner affairs, ecology, economy, security and, last but not least into science. In all these fields the centre of attention has to be focussed on the specific living conditions of the genders. In that context, men and boys shall not be understood as homogeneous group. It shall rather to take into account the different situations, structures and needs within all gender groups (intersectional perspective).
The FEDERAL FORUM MEN advocates a gender equality policy in which different but often also common interests and needs of women and men does NOT play against each other. Although a range of competing goals exists, men and women, mothers and fathers, boys and girls are not opponents, but rather persons acting jointly in the field of gender policy. They are all directly concerned by the consequences of political decision making.
Gender equality demands – Men as addressees for reconciliation policy
The reconciliation of private and work life is also a topic for sons, fathers and men. Professional and political gender equality efforts have to take this into account more strongly. The FEDERAL FORUM MEN invite politicians and social partners to take the necessary structural measures, which enable workers of all genders to fulfil their responsibilities in child care, partnership and general care.
Men and women as equal opportunity commissioners
A quiet and calm policy of alliances and cooperation is important for this sensitive field of action. Instead of questioning the existing professional institutions for equal opportunities, the FEDERAL FORUM MEN demands for the increase of jobs and parity based teams on this level. Therefore, it is important to reform the legislation for equal opportunities to ensure the active and passive right to equality structures also for men.
Necessary are more offers in a broad spectrum from life coaching and family counselling up to the work with male perpetrators and male victims of sexualised and domestic violence. The FEDERAL FORUM MEN demands for the establishment of these structures and their stable financial security. However, the funding must not come at burdens of analog offerings for women. On the contrary, existing offers need to foster their gender and men specific perspectives.
International networking and activities
Lobby activities for equal opportunity work needs an international perspective, collaboration and networking.
The FEDERAL FORUM MEN holds tight contacts to European men’s networks and actors, for example to MenEngage Europe and the European Gender Equality institute (EIGE) as well as on European member states level to männer.ch ( ‘men.ch’) in Switzerland, AMÖ – Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Männerberatungsstellen und Männerbüros Österreichs (‘AMÖ – Working group of men’s counseling centers and men’s bureaus Austria’) and Luxembourg.
The FEDERAL FORUM MEN is engaged in the European exchange in the fields of men and boys work as well as in networking activities with women’s and gender policy organisations. The Forum strives to build up and intensify this cooperation within network activities, collegial exchange and projects for men and gender policies.