Masculinities and changing gender and social norms that impact violence against women/girls’, their rights and empowerment in South Sudan.
home based and south sudan
The 50-year war of independence in South Sudan, a continuous ethnic based violent conflict fueled by cattle raids and lack of access to resources, and the current civil war have all bred a culture of violence and militarization that exacerbates women and girls’ already weakened status in the society and has led to further erosion of women and girls limited community protections. While violence has been understood to have a gendered impact in South Sudan, and a lot of interventions have tried to address these especially for women and girls as victims/survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, there has been very little understanding and studies around how unequal gender relations lead to the creation of violence, and especially manifested against women and girls. Continuous violence in communities also lead to the rise of ‘toxic masculinity’, an expression of masculinity that rewards the perpetration of rights abuses against women and girls, and an indicator in itself, of intolerance and brewing of communal violence. Apart from violence, there are number of traditional practices, including dowry, the practice of paying cattle for brides which encourages child brides and cattle raiding, auctioning of girls to the highest bidders through dowry, compensating serious crimes by awarding girls as compensation and other practices which are usually enforced by young men to further deny girls their rights and opportunities as equal citizens.
Gender inequalities remain very high in South Sudan, some of the highest in the world, and these are reflected in the status of women/girls compared to men/boys. Maternal mortality rates estimated in 2015 were 789 deaths/100,000 live births. Literacy rates are so low UNESCO pronounced South Sudan as having the highest illiteracy rates in the world. Only 27% of those age 15 and over can read and write, 40% of which are men and 16% of which are women. (http://teachersinstitute.yale.edu/curriculum/units/2002/3/02.03.09.x.html#d) Women leadership in all structures of governance, apart from the Parliament (at 30%) is less than 25%, and in most instances, less than 1% (states’ and county governments, judiciary and security sectors)
South Sudan has one of the highest rates of violence against women and girls, including conflict-related sexual violence, manifested at different levels – conflict-related sexual violence by armed groups, of both government and opposition, within communities during ethnic/communal violence, normalization of domestic violence (DV), almost 65% of women in various studies have admitted to facing intimate partner violence and due to insecurity in Protection of Civilian (PoCs) sites.
While the ongoing conflicts and violence have affected both women and men, boys and girls, South Sudan continues to have social and cultural norms that perpetuate power imbalances between men and women, and boys and girls that make women and girls more vulnerable to violence, including sexual violence perpetrated by men, lack of agency over their choices, limiting their education and vocational opportunities, lack of sexual and reproductive health choices, resulting in high maternal mortality rates, child marriages, dowry and the commercialization of women/girls. While men usually have more agency than the women in their lives, men’s decisions and behaviors are also profoundly shaped by rigid social and cultural expectations related to masculinity.
Discussions around masculinity and the exercise of male power are critical for a country like South Sudan that is still very traditional and with entrenched and deep patriarchal norms about the roles of women and men in society. The society is still governed by a series of male dominated cultural institutions and norms, that continue to perpetrate inequalities, at times, unknowingly, but of which there is need to start interrogating, first, by starting wholesale reflections about inequalities and about how men and women can support the bridging of gaps, and second, on developing strategies on how men and boys can be engaged to reflect on their exercise of power, and the burden of negative masculinity.
The roles and behaviors of women and men, boys and girls, are socially constructed and reinforced by gender norms that are upheld by various institutions in the communities, including traditional institutions, religious institutions, community practices, educational systems, economic structures and even government policies and practices.
UN Women is seeking a Lead International consultants who will be supported by 2 national consultants to undertake a study, to provide a deeper understanding of the social constructions and conceptualizations of masculinities and femininities, how these shape gender roles for men and women. This work will contribute to how gender norms are constructed for women and men, the beliefs, practices and institutions that sustain them and how these can better be understood to provide a framework for supporting mass interventions including key programmatic activities, especially with men and boys, that will provide ongoing opportunities to interrogate inequalities, norms in a changing environment, shifts in leadership, decision making, and concrete actions that strengthen rule of law, decision making, including in the personal and public realms that facilitates bridging of socio-economic gaps and inequalities between women and men, boys and girls. The aim will be to support the building of mass movements of men and boys, with support from women, who commit to changing their behaviors and promoting positive masculinities that will promote women and girls’ rights, opportunities and access and reduce not just women/girls’ vulnerabilities but also of men and boys. These efforts will be critical in promoting a broader understanding that that a viable South Sudan will require all its resources, including all its populations and with respect for all rights.
The Key objectives of the consultancy are below:
- To explore the Social Ecological framework of Masculinities, (SEM) and understand the multiple levels of the social system and interactions between individuals and the environment by looking at different factors that no one factor can explain, with a focus on 7 communities in South Sudan;
- To explore and compare perspectives of men and women, in the different age categories, (16-25 years), (26 – 40 years) and (40 and above) about meanings and conceptualizations of masculinity in the local context, and how the concept of masculinity has changed/is changing over time, especially in the context of violent conflicts;
- To analyze various local traditions and institutions (Chiefdoms, religious leaders, age sets etc.) and their roles in promoting/maintaining gender and social norms, including the understanding of how they impact on how men interpret their masculinities and expectations of femininity in the areas of focus;
- The conditions under which views, institution and traditions premised on stereotyped constructions of masculinity and femininity develop into violence, including on violence against women/SGBV, denial of women’s rights and opportunities using quantitative and/or qualitative analysis;
- To identify opportunities for male engagement, working with women, on transforming social and gender norms to protect women and girls in South Sudan.
The Study would further explore the following key questions:
- What are the linkages between gender, masculinities, and power (and violence?) at all levels in South Sudan?
- How do social and cultural norms about masculinities shape power relations and gender inequalities (and violence?) in South Sudan?
- How should we understand men’s responsibilities and potential contributions to the gender equality and women’s empowerment agenda in South Sudan? For sustainable peace in South Sudan?
- What are the potential opportunities and challenges in engaging men in the gender equality and women empowerment agenda in South Sudan?
- What are key policy and strategy level recommendations for engaging men and building a mass movement of male champions? Including what implementation approaches may need to be considered at the policy and strategy levels?
UN Women, grounded in the vision of equality enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, works for the elimination of discrimination against women and girls; the empowerment of women; and the achievement of equality between women and men as partners and beneficiaries of development, human rights, humanitarian action and peace and security. Placing women’s rights at the center of all its efforts, UN Women leads and coordinates United Nations system efforts to ensure that commitments on gender equality and gender mainstreaming translate into action throughout the world. It provides strong and coherent leadership in support of Member States’ priorities and efforts, building effective partnerships with civil society and other relevant actors.
UN Women has been working in South Sudan since 2011, implementing programming in the areas of; Women Peace and Security; Women's Leadership and Participation; Women’s Economic Empowerment; and, Ending Violence against Women and Girls. UN Women is also working in partnership with NGOs, other UN agencies, and local and national government entities in order to leverage humanitarian response efforts and bridge the humanitarian-development nexus for promoting gender responsive planning, programming, effective gender coordination, gender justice, women peace and security, as well as for challenging inequalities based on entrenched gender norms that are harmful for women and girls.
UN Women has a triple mandate, and in addition to the coordination and operational actions touched upon above, UN Women ensures that a comprehensive and dynamic set of norms, policies and standards on gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls is strengthened and implemented. Specifically in South Sudan this sees the Government of South Sudan fulfilling its international reporting obligations on CEDAW, Beijing Platform for Action, UNSCR 1325, Maputo Plan of Action, and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Duties and Responsibilities
Under the direct supervision of the Deputy Country Representative, the Consultants will perform the following functions in South Sudan:
- Inception paper by three consultants (international consultant will be the lead) which should include proposed literature and desk review, research methodology, final implementation plan and timeline. The Inception paper has to be approved by a team of technical people put together by UN Women before the assignment will start;
- Draft report (max. 20 A4 pages, Times New Roman, 12 font). The draft should include and overview of the research methodology and initial findings and key recommendations;
- Draft presentation. The draft paper will be presented by one or more of the consultants at an expert meeting to be organized by UN Women for stakeholders;
- Submission of Final report. The final paper should include a full description of the methodology used, key findings and recommendations, including for policy and programming, as well as any relevant annexes (i.e. data tables for quantitative analysis, field research tools, etc.). It should incorporate feedback from the experts meeting and from UN Women.
Integrity/Commitment to mandate:
Acts in accordance with UN WOMEN values and holds herself/himself accountable for actions taken. Demonstrates personal commitment to UN Women’s triple mandate and to the organizational vision.
Knowledge sharing/Continuous learning:
Takes responsibility for personal learning and career development and actively seeks opportunities to learn through formal and informal means. Learns from others inside and outside the organization adopting best practices created by others. Actively produces and disseminates new knowledge.
Demonstrates an international outlook, appreciates differences in values and learns from cultural diversity. Takes actions appropriate to the religious and cultural context and shows respect, tact and consideration for cultural differences. Observes and inquires to understand the perspectives of others and continually examines his/her own biases and behaviors.
Working in teams
Works collaboratively with colleagues inside and outside of UN WOMEN to allow the achievement of common goals and shared objectives. Actively seeks resolution of disagreements and supports the decisions of the team.
Communicating information and ideas:
Delivers oral and written information in a timely, effective and easily understood manner;
Participates in meetings and group discussions actively listening and sharing information;
Frankly expresses ideas with the intent to resolve issues, considers what others have to say and responds appropriately to criticism.
Conflict and self-management
Manages personal reactions by remaining calm, composed and patient even when under stress or during a crisis and avoids engaging in unproductive conflict. Expresses disagreement in constructive ways that focus on the issue not the person. Tolerates conditions of uncertainty or ambiguity and continues to work productively.
Working with people:
Empowerment/Developing people/Performance management
Integrates himself/herself into the work unit seeking opportunities to originate action and actively contributing to achieving results with other members of the team. Knows his/her limitations and strength, welcomes constructive criticism and feedback and gives honest and contractive feedback to colleagues and supervisors. Seeks new challenges and assignments and exhibits a desire to learn. Accepts responsibility for personal performance participating in individual work planning and objective setting seeking feedback and acting to continuously improve performance.
Required Skills and Experience
Master’s degree (or equivalent) in Behavioral Sciences, Psychology, International Development Studies, Social Sciences, Politics, Law, Human Rights, Gender, Women Studies, Economics, Monitoring and Evaluation or related field.
Skills & Experience:
- Minimum of 5 years relevant experience conducting research including substantive studies of sensitive issues such as violence against women, gender-based violence, gender equality and masculinity, women, peace and security;
- Excellent research and analytical drafting skills;
- Expertise and knowledge of the South Sudan/Africa region;
- Demonstrated ability to meet deadlines and work under pressure.
Fluency in written and spoken English.
Review Panel and Evaluation Criteria:An internal panel constituted by UN Women will evaluate the proposals. Proposals that receives the highest score against a set of weighted technical criteria (70%) and financial criteria (30%) described below will be selected.
Technical Criteria for Evaluation (Maximum 70 points):
Criteria 1: Demonstrated experience in conducting research including substantive studies of sensitive issues such as violence against women, gender-based violence, gender equality and masculinity, women, peace and security, masculinity (Max 20 points).
Criteria 2: Expertise and knowledge of Africa/South Sudan (Max 15 points).
Criteria 3: Strength of technical proposal in terms of methodological approach and innovative
subject matter (Max 35 points)
Items Amount (USD) Lump Sum fee (equivalent to daily fee x no. of days). UN Women will be responsible for covering travel costs, DSAs and other logistics as necessary and should not be included in the financial proposal.
Number of days refers to actual days that the consultant works in order to produce deliverables as required by the ToRs, NOT the number of days covering the whole period of consultancy.
Financial score shall be computed as a ratio of the proposal being evaluated and the lowest priced proposal received for the assignment.
Proposals obtaining a minimum of 49 points (70% of the total technical points) will be considered for the Financial Evaluation.
How to apply:
- Personal CV/PII, indicating all past experience from similar projects, as well as the contact details (email and telephone number) of at least three (3) professional references;
- Technical Expression of Interest l (1 to 3 pages) indicates an initial understanding of the TORs, technical expertise to undertake the assignment, indicative workplan, timelines and budget.
UN WOMEN applies fair and transparent selection process that would take into account the competencies/skills of the applicants as well as their financial proposals.
UN WOMEN is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups, and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.