New program encourages young men to challenge gender stereotypes

A group of culturally diverse young men and their parents have celebrated the successful completion of South East Community Link’s new Healthy Masculinities program.

In partnership with Lyndale Secondary College and Melbourne City Football Club’s City in the Community, the program focuses on shaping young boys into better versions of themselves, fostering positive masculinity, and helping them achieve their full potential.

The first cohort to complete the program included 15 middle school students from refugee and migrant communities at Lyndale Secondary College.

One participant shared, “This program has helped us to challenge ideas about gender roles and helped me be a better person.”

South East Community Link’s Family Violence Prevention Practitioner, Divya Mohan, said the new program supports safe discussions about the gendered drivers of violence against women.

“Together this group of young men has explored actionable steps they can take to prevent violence and promote respect for women and girls,” says Divya.

“Participants engaged in discussions on respect, consent and bystander intervention. They have also challenged gender stereotypes, including about women in sport.”

“Facilitators created a safe and non-judgmental space for participants to explore their values, identities, and perceptions about their roles as young men in culturally diverse families and communities,” says Divya.

A special end-of-term event was held as part of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence to celebrate the completion of the program. The event acknowledged the commitment and participation of the students and featured inspiring guest speakers, including Jojo Amaah, a 22-year-old resilient young man who shared his remarkable life story of courage after experiencing an assault on the football field.

In addition, Karly Roestbakken and Laura Hughes, shared their experiences as Australian female professional soccer players representing the A-League Women’s team.

The day concluded on a high note with a soccer tournament, where two teams competed enthusiastically, adding a fun and competitive element to the celebration.

The success of this initiative has paved the way for the second phase of the Healthy Masculinities program, scheduled for Term 1 in 2024. In partnership with Jesuit Social Services, this phase will delve deeper into developing skills and confidence for participants to embrace positive masculinity, healthy identities, and a greater understanding of their role in preventing violence against women and promoting gender equity.

Funded under Supporting Multicultural Communities and Faith-Based Communities by the Victorian Government Department of Families, Fairness, and Housing, the program aims to provide positive role models for participants to inspire and motivate them on their journey toward becoming healthier and happier young adults and men in the future.

The Lyndale Secondary College community looks forward to the continued success and impact of the Healthy Masculinities program in shaping the future of young men.