We Play Equal

In promoting gender equality with many projects and programmes on working with girls and women, there is still one group that has received relatively little attention: Adolescent Boys. Adolescence is a key transition period for boys as well as girls; while attitudes and social norms are shaped at an early age. It may also be the time when boys may feel pressure to behave in stereotypical ‘male’ ways. In a multistakeholder and multidisciplinary project, Istanbul Hub launched a new movement in engaging boys and young men around tackling gender stereotypes and norms which may lead to gender inequality by using the power of sports.

Sports have tremendous influence in culture and in lives of all adolescents. The principles of teamwork and fair play make sports a powerful social tool to promote gender equality among adolescents. Furthermore, coaches and trainers are influential role models for boys and young men. They are poised to positively influence how boys and young men think and behave, both on and off the field. The project addresses an increasing recognition of the need to involve boys and young men in challenging gender norms, levelling the playing field and struggling against gender-based violence. We need to challenge cultural norms and make sure to promote equality and inclusion. This will have an impact not only on women and girls’ but also on boys’ lives as they grow into men.