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'Global Guytalk' encourages men to talk about things they rarely talk about

An exhibition aiming to encourage male engagement in the work for gender equal societies opened at the Vietnamese Women’s Museum on Monday (March 8).

A visitor seen at the 'Global Guytalk' exhibition at the Vietnamese Women’s Museum.

Entitled Global Guytalk, the exhibition has been curated by the Swedish Institute to address the prevailing masculinity role and some of the obstacles for men speaking with other men about their feelings. 

The Swedish gender equality initiative “guy dinner” was established in 2016 and has since enjoyed great success. In cooperation with the Swedish Institute and the non-profit foundation Make Equal, the Embassy of Sweden in Hanoi now introduces Global Guytalk in Vietnam, aiming to start conversations between men that can influence attitudes and increase gender equality.

Swedish Ambassador Ann Måwe delivers a speech at the opening of 'Global Guytalk' exhibition in Hanoi. Photos courtesy of Swedish Embassy

"In collaboration between Make Equal, the Swedish Institute “guy dinner” now goes international and becomes Global Guytalk. It is exciting to launch it in Vietnam today. The aim is to give men the chance to participate in conversations about how norms and expectations form them, and how they can contribute to creating a more equal society," said Swedish Ambassador Ann Måwe at the opening of the event.

"The overall objective of gender equality is a society in which women and men enjoy the same opportunities, rights, and obligations in all spheres of life. One part of achieving that is for men to understand their chance to be a part of positive change and to reflect on their own situation. My belief is that it is necessary for a healthy family relationship that men talk to each other and overcome prevailing patriarchal mentalities of not sharing emotions," she said.

The Ambassador said that the Global Guytalk can be seen as a follow-up to the highly appreciated photo exhibition Swedish Dads by photographer Johan Bävman – shown in over 70 countries worldwide including Vietnam.

“This inspired quite a few similar initiatives in Vietnam during the last few years including the exhibitions Vietnamese Dads and Equal Families. With Global Guytalk we wish to build on the experiences from Swedish Dads – stepping up the work with men and boys in support of a gender equal society,” she said.

The first Global Guytalk in Vietnam has been organised in cooperation with the Vietnamese Women’s Museum.

Director of the museum Nguyen Hai Van said: "Besides preserving and introducing the heritage of Vietnamese women to the public at home and abroad, the Vietnamese Women’s Museum is also aware of our mission in raising awareness and improving understanding of gender issues.

“This is reflected in exhibits that the museum has done to date, as well as events in collaboration with international organisations on gender multidimensional themes. The exhibition Global Guytalk is one such event,” Van said.

The director said she was impressed by the content of the exhibition, because “there are not many forums for Vietnamese men to share their thoughts. And that shows us that equality sometimes does not come from the big thing, but it comes from harmony, listening to understand feelings, emotions and desires from both sides.”

Speaking at the event, Dang Hoa Nam, Director-General of the Department of Children, Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, a partner of Global Guytalk in Vietnam, said that one factor identified as undermining men's confidence to become involved in gender equality is the lack of positive male role models in society and the media.

“Fears that engaging men in gender equality strategies may hinder the empowerment of women may act as an additional obstacle. I believe we would only succeed through the participation of both women and men, to achieve equality in our society. I would like to call upon Vietnamese men to actively join Global Guytalk," he said.

Global Guytalk opens to the public until March 15 on the ground floor of the Vietnamese Women’s Museum, 36 Ly Thuong Kiet Street.


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