Young men as teenagers in the Balkans demonstrate many risks and challenges in their everyday life. This is a critical stage in development for adolescent boys in the Balkans, especially in regards to social and peer influences. Young men are testing and formulating their attitudes and behaviors around manhood based on these influences. Regional tensions and the economic crisis exacerbate an uncertainty over the future for boys in general. For many, their daily experiences include violence as both victims and perpetrators. In addition, many hold non equitable attitudes and behavior around gender which impacts their relationships and puts them at greater risks for non healthy lifestyles.
The region continues to be confronted with youth violence, from nationalistic and political related to gendered and homophobic, to school wide bullying. Patriarchal societies are heavily influenced by religious institutions. Political elites and the media continue to promote an unhealthy version of masculinity for young males – often with negative consequences for young people throughout the region.
We believe by addressing gender inequalities and promoting healthy versions of masculinities and manhood, boys / young men have the opportunity to reach there full potential in society. In societies where gender equality is most prevalent, the benefits to both men and women are seen through more equal relationships, better health outcomes for men and greater human rights for all citizens.