Issues of masculinity and social cohesion: a critical review of programs for young men

The challenge

Gendered violence has led to the development of community-based programs designed to support men and boys to adopt more respectful and inclusive attitudes and behaviours. While most programs are positive in supporting these goals, they can differ markedly in their political approach. Approaches may range from intersectional, critical and feminist-informed, to an uncritical celebration of essentialised maleness. These different approaches can have varying implications for social cohesion and social justice.

Project overview

This project evaluated existing community-based programs in Victoria designed to support young men to adopt pro-social behaviours. It explored:

  • How programs understood masculinities, gender, violence and inclusion in their work with men and boys
  • How these understandings of masculinities, gender, violence and inclusion reflected the principles of social inclusion and social justice
  • The key enabling and constraining factors of these programs towards realising the goals of social cohesion and gender justice.

The project involved a critical stock-take and review of programs in Victoria that sought to improve the lives of boys and men. The project also followed-up case studies of some of these programs to further explore issues of masculinity, gender and inclusion, and their implications for realising the broader goals of social cohesion.


Program outcomes included:

  • Interviews with 20 program leaders resulting in a review on intersectionality and gender transformative programs, and a critical stock-take of the 20 programs reviewed.
  • Case studies with five programs, including interviews with facilitators and participants.

Findings culminated in an assessment tool to assess the gender transformative capacities of programs designed to support boys and young men.

Find out more about the assessment tool:


Access the tool and issues paper:
Working with Men and Boys for Social Justice Assessment Tool        


Project team

Professor Amanda Keddie (Chief Investigator – Deakin University)

Associate Professor Michael Flood (QUT)

Associate Professor Anna Halafoff (Deakin University)

Shelley Hewson-Munro (RMIT)

Maria Delaney (Social Change Agency)


Deakin University



$90,885 over two years

Funding body: CRIS (Centre for Resilient and Inclusive Societies), Victorian Government



Project resources

Programmes for boys and men: possibilities for gender transformation
Amanda Keddie, Shelley Hewson-Munro, Anna Halafoff, Maria Delaney, Michael Flood (2022)
Gender and Education

Intersectionality and social justice in programs for boys and men
Amanda Keddie, Michael Flood & Shelley Hewson-Munro (2022)

Understanding and addressing gender-based violence: an Australian Indigenous approach
Amanda Keddie, Maria Delaney, Ben McVeigh & Jaylon Thorpe (2021)
Journal of Gender Studies

‘The sooner, the better’: Why young boys need to be taught about consent
Dr Michael Flood (2021)
SBS The Feed

More information

Masculinities and Social Cohesion — Centre for Resilient and Inclusive Societies (

CRIS Project: Masculinity, Gender Justice and Social Cohesion: Evaluating Programs for Young Men – YouTube



masculinity, social cohesion, social justice, masculine