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Understanding the Male Life Course: Opportunities for Gender Transformation

With support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Office of Gender Equality & Women’s Empowerment, the Passages Project has developed a framework that conceptualizes men’s experiences, challenges, and opportunities across the life course. This approach builds on work done by USAID’s Evidence to Action Project, the Interagency Gender Working Group, the Male Engagement Task Force, and others, in addition to efforts in applying a life course approach to women’s health needs. The goal is to provide a common framework for understanding the unique issues men face throughout their lives across a range of thematic areas, and to identify key opportunities for transforming gender-related norms that reinforce gender inequality and harm both men and women. The concept paper begins with a brief overview of the core concepts of Life Course Theory and discusses why the concept of masculinities matters for the life course approach. It then shows how the LCT as a framework applies to men and boys across five key thematic areas (which have been selected in consultation with USAID and other experts on programming with and for men and boys). Finally, it presents some of the programmatic implications to gender-transformative programming.

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