Free Online Course: Men, Boys and Masculinities

7 February 2024
Free Online Course: Men, Boys and Masculinities

A new online course on Men, Boys & Masculinities from the GRÓ GEST course series in international gender studies is now open for registration on edX®. The first run of the course starts on 26 February and runs until 8 April.

In this fourth installment in the GRÓ GEST series of Free Online Courses in International Gender Studies, a group of four internationally acclaimed experts will introduce you to basic theories and terminology in masculinity studies and examine the processes that construct masculinities in the areas of education, media, digitalisation, global politics, climate change and more.

Scroll to the bottom of this page to view the course trailer.


The GRÓ GEST online course series in international gender studies is designed to strengthen the capacities of development practitioners and advocates to better understand and integrate critical gender issues in their work. Anyone can sign up and take the courses, and they function as excellent starting points for those setting out on a career in international development. The courses are free to audit, and for a small fee one can opt to receive a certificate from edX and the University of Iceland upon successful completion.

Building on the content of past courses on intersectionality, gender and development, and gender-based violence, Men, Boys & Masculinities begins from the acknowledgment that an understanding of masculinity and the engagement of men and boys in gender issues is a key component to achieving global gender equality.


The course is a synergy of professionally edited video material in harmonious interplay with short texts, open discussion fora, interactive exercises, peer assessments, and other tools aimed at creating a natural learning flow.

By the end of this course, learners will understand and be able to discuss:

Basic theoretical approaches in studies on men, boys, and masculinities | How the social construction of masculinities affects boys’ participation and learning achievement | How socialization processes happening within educational institutions often replicate that of broader society | Why men are falling behind in education worldwide | How masculinity is expressed in the media and what it means for men and women | How different media can perpetrate or challenge norms of hegemonic masculinity | How gender bias is embedded in new technologies and Artificial Intelligence | How stereotypical masculine representations may affect peacebuilding processes and intercultural dialogue  | How harmful notions of masculinities can be used to radicalize and recruit men and boys to violent extremist groups | And much more...


As part of an international higher education institution, GRÓ GEST has cultivated a vast network of international scholars and experts on variety of topics in international gender studies for many years. For this course, GRÓ GEST reached out to some of its top scholars in men and masculinity studies. They author the course under the supervision of project manager Dr Thomas Brorsen Smidt, who oversees GRÓ GEST's online programme in International Gender Studies.

A decolonial psychologist known internationally for his work on Africa-centring psychology, masculinity, fatherhood, culture, sexuality, and violence, Kopano Ratele is a regular contributor in South African media on matters related to masculinity. In 2021 he became professor of Psychology at Stellenbosch University. He is former co-director of the South African Medical Research Council-University of South Africa (Unisa)'s Violence, Injury & Peace Research Unit.

←  Jeff Hearn is Professor Emeritus at the Hanken School of Economics, Finland, and is easily one of the most recognizable names in masculinity studies in the Nordic hemisphere. He is the author of countless books, edited volumes and scientific articles published over the span of several decades, focusing on gender, sexuality, violence, age, work, organisations, policy, ICTs, and transnational processes. In addition, he has worked on many national, Nordic, EU and North-South research and policy projects.

Ann Phoenix is a Professor of Psychosocial Studies at University College London. Her research is mainly about social identities and the ways in which psychological experiences and social processes are linked and intersectional. It includes work on racialised and gendered identities; family lives and home; migration and transnational families. Ann’s work has included many international collaborations across various continents.

And finally, Tamara Shefer is Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at the University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa where she has been for 29 years. Her scholarship, also activism and policy, has been mostly directed at intersectional gender and sexual justice, with particular emphasis on young people and with a strong emphasis on boys, men and masculinities. Tamara has worked mostly in South Africa but has many collaborations, engagements and visiting professorships in international contexts.




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