10 Reasons Men Need a Gender Equality Movement

65088584-equalityThere’s an interesting comment piece in the Boston Globe by Cathy Young, a Russian American writer whose books include Ceasefire!: Why Women and Men Must Join Forces to Achieve True Equality.

Young picks up the recent public debate on the need for a men’s movement and says what men and boys really need is a gender equality movement.

“To many, the very notion of “men’s issues” or men’s rights seems laughable” says Young but  “men’s advocacy raises important and worthy issues that often draw unfair ridicule”.

“Unfortunately,” adds Young the men’s rights movement “is also prone to toxic rhetoric that subverts its valid points and alienates potential supporters.”

“Perhaps what the 21st century needs is not a women’s movement  or a men’s movement, but a gender equality movement,” she concludes.

Here are ten of the key men’s issues Young thinks a gender equality movement would need to address:

  1. If women were dying in 90 percent of workplace fatalities and three out of four suicides, would we not see such numbers as troubling—and as legitimate women’s issues? Yet, reversed, the disparities go unnoticed
  2. Unlike racial profiling of minorities, the disproportionate targeting of males by law enforcement gets no attention
  3. Women account for more than a third of illegal drug use but fewer than 15 percent of arrests
  4. While men are often presumed dangerous to children, actual female molesters tend to get lenient treatment.
  5. There is virtually no recognition of ways in which current policies treat paternity as a public resource. Men coerced into unwilling fatherhood  must still pay child support. On the flip side, divorced fathers often feel they are treated more as wallets than as parents.
  6. When imbalances that disadvantage men or boys — such as male academic underachievement — become the subject of concern, such concerns are often viewed with suspicion as potential attacks on women.
  7. With a few exceptions, feminists have balked at any pro-equality advocacy that would support men in male-female disputes, acknowledge that women can mistreat men, or undermine female advantage.
  8. While the push for gender-neutral laws in the 1970s helped dismantle the formal presumption of maternal custody, actual efforts by fathers to get sole or joint custody brought on a swift backlash from the women’s movement.
  9. When the campaign for tough domestic violence policies netted more female perpetrators, women’s groups pressed for anti-male double standards, promoting the myth that nearly all female violence is in self-defense.
  10. Laudable feminist efforts to secure justice for rape victims have often turned into calls for a presumption of male guilt.

To read more on the current debate on whether the world needs a men’s movement see the following articles:


Government ignores male victims says TV lawyer

PreviewFile.jpgTV lawyer Marilyn Stowe has slammed the government’s Ministry of Justice (MoJ) for ignoring the plight of male victims of domestic violence.

According to Stowe, a family law practitioner and resident legal expert on ITV’s This Morning, The MoJ’s online guidance on legal aid for victims of domestic violence excludes men, saying:

“To get legal aid you must be able to give your solicitor some evidence that you have been a victim of domestic violence by your partner or husband.”

Writing about the issue on her blog, Stowe said:

“Domestic violence against men does exist more frequently  than many people imagine, and it certainly should not be casually disregarded in this way. If the government feels that it is appropriate to hang ‘women only’ signs out on a website about practical help for victims, where are men in need supposed to turn?

“It is another message from the establishment that the distress of male victims is imaginary. In the 21st Century we should be beyond lazy stereotypes of women as passive victims and men as perpetual villains.”

Thanks to Karen Woodall at the Centre for Separated Families for flagging up Stowe’s comments which you can see in full here.

We will be discussing the challenges faced by male victims of domestic violence at this year’s 3rd National Conference for Men and Boys. To buy your ticket today click here now.

Related Posts:

Changing the Public Story of Domestic Violence

Call to Men’s Domestic Violence Helpline Tripled

Wow! A degree in Working with Men and Fathers

imagesHere’s some interesting news from the University of Newcastle in Australia, the Family Action Centre has launched a Graduate Certificate and Master of Family Studies that allows students to choose “Working with Men and Fathers” as a specialism.

The University says:

“With one of these internationally recognised degrees under your belt, you will be able to pursue a career that enables you to make a real difference in people’s lives no matter where you are in the world.”

And you don’t need to be in Australia to study. You can apply to study Working with Men and Fathers or International Family Studies 100% online in Trimester 3 which commences in September this year.

The University says that including men and fathers in support services, policy and programs is at the cutting edge of family practice and being involved in this works makes you part of a global movement to support families by engaging with male parents.

“Among practitioners supporting families and children it is well recognised that fathers have a profound impact on how children develop,” says the University.

“The way that male parents offer support and take responsibility for children’s development can strengthen family resilience under stress. Research into father-infant and father-child relationships makes clear that for the sake of children’s healthy development services and programs should engage with fathers.”

“For professionals across the range of human services, from those dealing with abusive behaviours to those addressing disability, health and education, father-engagement skills are part of good practice. The study of fathers and fathering can offer evidence-based guidance to practitioners, managers and policy advisors wishing to support fathers to enhance their families’ wellbeing.”

Further information about the application process can be found here. You will also find program requirements, course fees and online study information on this site.


Changing the public story of domestic violence

men-and-abuseOne of the key topics that gets addressed each year at the National Conference for Men and Boys is the issue of male victims of domestic violence.

One of the leading charities working to tackle this issue is Abused Men in Scotland (AMIS) who attended the event last year.

AMIS has been going from strength to strength and is beginning to shape the broader debate on the issue of male victims. One of the key ideas that AMIS is highlighting is the need to change the “public story” about domestic violence to include male victims.

If you want to meet with experts from organisations working with men and boys like AMIS then get your ticket for the Third National Conference for Men and Boys.

Nick Smithers of AMIS wrote an article about the “public story” of domestic violence published at The Good Men Project this weekend, where he spoke about his experience of presenting at a recent conference.  Here’s a summary of some of the key points he makes:

“Conversations about male and female victims of domestic violence can often get reduced to arguments about gender politics. AMIS works hard to avoid this type of dialogue. As a frontline service we bring real expertise of working with male victims and we back this up with rigorous and original research such as our recent report on Men’s Experience of Domestic Abuse in Scotland.

“One of the key themes that has emerged from our research is the extent to which the “public story” of domestic abuse is extremely pervasive—that being the notion that domestic abuse is perpetrated almost exclusively by men against women. It’s one thing knowing this, the challenge we face is finding ways to create a new public story that accounts for both male and female victims.

“I was asked my view on the introduction of the term “gender based violence” (GBV) to replace ‘domestic abuse’ in many official publications and discourse. I suggested that this could be another barrier to men getting help as the implication was that GBV was male on female—the standard assumption. My co-presenter intervened to make what, to me, was a telling clarification. It was asserted that GBV was not about ‘who does what to whom’ but about why some people were victimised due to their gender.

“My co-presenter then stated that social construction theory explains this phenomenon as it illuminates the fact that men are brought up to control women and that this is the context for domestic abuse. Well I was somewhat taken aback by this statement which I could neither relate to on a personal level as a man nor on a professional level having worked with men in a deprived area of Edinburgh for six years.

“This exchange has been reverberating in my mind since then. It seems to encapsulate an ideology which is the hidden, guiding hand of domestic abuse policy here in Scotland and beyond. While it was surprising for me to hear such a political definition of sex roles it was highly instructive as to why abused men in Scotland often suffer in silence.

“Men experiencing domestic abuse can feel stigmatised and ashamed. In many cases men will not recognise their experience as domestic abuse such is the prevalence of the public story- they will believe it is something which only happens to women. It is imperative that the narrative around domestic abuse shifts to allow gender inclusive language to become the norm.”

To read Nick’s full article and the debate in the comments section below see The Good Men Project website.

To book your place for the 3rd National Conference for Men and Boys click here now .


Cast Your Vote: What Kind Of Men’s Movement Do We Need?

YesNoAnne-Marie Slaughter, the former Director of Policy Planning for U.S. State Department has said that the world needs a men’s movement—so we thought we’d run a poll to see what kind of men’s movement our readers think the world needs.

To put the statement in context, Slaughter sparked an international debate with an article called “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All” that sparked a global debate about how women can (or can’t) balance family and career. Now she’s shifting her focus slightly to talk about how women AND men struggle with work-life balance.

“I really think we need a men’s movement, and you’re starting to see it,” she said this week. “Guys are starting to speak up for themselves about masculinity, about care-giving. You know, women are hypocrites this way, because we would go crazy if men treated us in the workforce the way we typically treat them at home — if a guy in the workforce assumed he was more competent than you are, and told you what to do — but that’s the way most women treat men in the household.”

So is she right and if so what kind of men’s movement does the world need? We’ve come up with 10 suggestions based on some of the key factions of the global men’s movement that we’ve come across over the years and produced a poll at the end of this post so you can cast your vote and tell us what kind of men’s movement the world needs.

Of course the 3rd National Conference for Men and Boys is open to everyone so if you want to come along and take part this year then please buy your tickets online today.


1.    A Men’s Liberation Movement

A global men’s liberation movement would be pro-feminist and focussed on liberating men from rigid gender roles on the past and helping men to address unhealthy male behaviours and develop and promote healthy masculinity.

2.    A Men’s Human Rights Movement

A global men’s human rights movement would tackle feminism head on and address all the areas of life where men’s human rights are under attack, with a particular focus on tackling laws, policies and initiatives that favour women and girls and discriminate against men and boys in the process.

3.    A  Men’s Rites of Passage Movement

A Men’s Rites of Passage Movement would ensure that all men and boys had the opportunity to take part in rites of passage work with the support of other men and help every boy make a safe and healthy transition into manhood in the process.

4.    An Integral Men’s Movement

An Integral Global Men’s Movement would seek to unite everyone committed to improving the lives of men and boys no matter what perspective they came from and seek out areas of common interest and opportunities to work together for the greater good.

5.    A Men’s Social Justice Movement

A Men’s Social Justice Movement would focus on areas where men and boys experience inequality or problems with their health, education, family life, personal safety, social care needs etc and take action to find solutions to these issues.

6.    A Religious Men’s Movement

A Religious Men’s Movement would help to solve the problems that involve men and boys by actively working to bring more men to God—with a focus on one religion only (whatever that religion is).

7.    An Interfaith Men’s Movement

An Interfaith Men’s Movement would work across religious boundaries to help solve the problems that involve men and boys by actively working to bring more men to a life of faith, no matter what that faith is.

8.     A Fathers’ Rights Movement

A Fathers’ Rights Movement would seek to ensure that every child knows the love of their father by tackling the failings of the world’s legal systems which favour mothers particularly when parents are separated.

9.    A Shared Parenting Movement

A Shared Parenting Movement would work to unite mums and dads to help men and women equally share the responsibility of caring for their children, looking after the home and earning money through a rewarding career.

10. A Men Go Their Own Way Movement

A Men Go Their Own Way Movement would encourage and support men to “go their own way” and live their lives free from any problems associated with being in a long-term relationship with a women.

So what kind of men’s movement do you think the world needs? Cast your vote below now. You can vote for more than one option if you want to and please feel free to share this page with others so more people can cast a vote today. Thanks for taking part, getting involved and taking action today.

And now you’ve voted why not join the movement towards the 3rd National Conference for Men and Boys and buy your tickets today.

Seven Reasons To Take Men’s Mental Health Seriously

02422c8b607e2a9226be29e7f027ff1dThe mental health of men and boys is a topic that comes every year at the National Conference for Men and Boys.

One of the many great organisations to attend the event last year—Men’s Minds Matter—have published a list of 7 reasons why we need to give this issue more attention.

If you want to meet a fantastic range of professionals committed to improving the lives of men and boys then do come along this year’s conference—you can buy your tickets online now.

According to Men’s Minds Matter, there is a lack of information available about the physical and mental health of men and boys, but we do know that:

  • Men are three times more likely to take their own lives through suicide (NIMHE, 2008; ONS, 2013)
  • Across the lifespan men are at greater risk from nearly all major illnesses and injury (O‟Brien & White, 2003; Courtenay, 2009; Coalition on Men & Boys, 2009)
  • Men engage in many more behaviours that are a risk to their health (Courtenay, 2000)
  • Men make up the vast majority of the prison population and it is estimated that 90% of prisoners have mental health problems (Prison Reform Trust, 2005)
  • 94% of young offenders are male and 80-90% are believed to have mental health problems
  • The majority of those who are homeless are men (Gill, Meltzer, Hinds & Pettcrew, 1994)
  • Men suffer more substance abuse and dependence (Kessler et al. 2005)

Men’s Minds Matter aims to address the mental health of men and boys through actively campaigning to address inequalities where they exist, conducting high quality research, providing training and development, and working closely with interested parties and partner organisations.

Men’s Minds Matter explores the mental health of men and boys from a scientific psychological perspective. They say that: “Mental illness in men affects not only individuals themselves but also others, including women, children and other men. It is imperative that we address the mental health of men and boys to improve the mental health of all people.”

You can find out more at the Men’s Minds Matter website.

And to come to the conference click here now to book your tickets today.

What’s more important – boys or badgers?

projects-portraits-bodgerbadgerDo we care more about boys or badgers in the UK?

We noticed this cheeky little comment by the Throat Cancer Foundation (TCF) yesterday and thought we’d share it with you. TCF is campaigning for boys to be vaccinated against the HPV virus that causes some cancers. Girls are already vaccinated against HPV but boys are not.

This is a good example of how we put less time, energy and money into tackling cancer in men than women as we outlined in our recent post male cancer campaigns on the rise.

So when someone at TCF noticed that the Welsh government spent £1 million on vaccinating badgers last year they were prompted to quip:

“So, there are grants available to vaccinate badgers but we still do not vaccinate boys against HPV?  Now, TCF have nothing against badgers and are all for vaccinating as opposed culling the badger but surely we have to vaccinate boys to protect against cancer as a priority too!!”

It would seem that offering boys the vaccination against HPV (as now happens in Australia) would be in line with the UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).

The Covenant recognises the “right to health” of everyone which means “the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health”. Member states are expected to protect this right by taking specific steps to improve the health of their citizens and ensuring that everyone within their jurisdiction has access to the underlying determinants of health which includes a comprehensive system of healthcare, which is available to everyone without discrimination, and economically accessible to all. The Covenant also resognises the “right to cultural life” which includes the right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress.

You can find out more about the HPV vaccination for boys campaign at the  Throat Cancer Foundation website.

If you’ve got a view on vaccinating boys (or badgers) or you’re interested in any other men’s issues then why not join us for this years 3rd National Conference for Men and Boys.

You can book your ticket here today.

A quarter of all Blackpool boys will die before they reach 65

Kian+Kelly+Blackpool+v+Fulham+Premier+League+AQrA7yWYqWFlA boy born in Blackpool  is four times more likely to die before 65  than a girl born in East Dorset,  according to latest statistics from the Office of National Statistics that reveal that nearly a quarter of Blackpool boys will die before they reach 65.

Men are not pre-destined to die younger than women and there are many, many factors that contribute to men dying younger than women on average.

It is too simplistic to blame men and boys’ health inequalities on a single factor such as men’s behaviour, for example. When you consider that an average boy in East Dorset will die 3 years sooner than a local girl, but outline girls from Manchester by 4 years, then there are clearly other factors that are impacting on men’s health.

Developing a better understanding of what we can do to help men live longer, happier, healthier lives is one of the key themes of the 3rd National Conference for Men and Boys. If you want to take part in this event then do please buy your tickets online today here.

According to the latest data, in 2009–11, male life expectancy at birth was highest in East Dorset (83.0 years); 9.2 years higher than in Blackpool, which had the lowest figure (73.8 years)

According to 2009–11 mortality rates, approximately 91% of baby boys and 94% of girls in East Dorset at birth will reach their 65th birthday. The comparable figures were 77% and 86% in Blackpool and Manchester respectively.

The distribution of life expectancy across England was characterised by a north-south divide, with people in local areas in the north generally living shorter lives than those in the south.

In 2009–11, approximately 32% of local areas in the East, 45% in the South East and 22% in the South West were in the fifth of areas with the highest male life expectancy at birth. In contrast, there was no local area in the North East, North West and Wales in this group. A similar pattern was observed for females.


Can you help launch the world’s first testicle shaped hot air balloon?

The Male Cancer Awareness Campaign (MCAC) is on a mission to build a giant hot balloon in the shape of a pair of testicles—they say it will be the “ultimate awareness tool”.

The ‘Skyballs’ project is backed by comedian Chris O Dowd (who features in the video above) and aims to spread the message that early detection of testicular cancer saves lives.

Men are 60% more likely to get the cancers that affect both sexes and 70% more likely to die from those cancers, beating male cancer is one of the topics of conversation that we focus on every year at the National Conference for Men and Boys.

If you want to take part in this year’s event why not click here to book your ticket online today.

Research into male cancer reveals that we put less time, energy and money into tackling cancer in men than women as we outlined in our recent post male cancer campaigns on the rise:

MCAC is an innovative campaign that uses blokey humour to raise awareness of cancer amongst and is best known for its mascot “Mr Testicles” who travels up and down the country spreading the word

According to Mr Testicles and his friends there are FIVE REASONS why the world needs a hot air balloon shaped like a gigantic testicles right now:

1. The death of young men to testicular cancer can be prevented. 

2. Ignorance & embarrassment are just two reasons this cancer causes any more trouble than it needs to. The way we can stop this is through awareness & confrontation.

3. A massive flying ballsack will be impossible to ignore. And hopefully chip away at the taboos still surrounding this nasty little cancer. 

4. Our balloon will also have a lifespan & a cost efficiency that will outperform any other media initiative: It is reusable, easily transported globally and should last us at least 10 years.

5. It’s a massive pair of flying gonads!  

The charity has launched a campaign to raise £100,000  by September to build the balloon. To find out more today visit MCAC’s fundraising page here now.

To book your tickets for the Third National Conference for Men and Boys click here now and get your tickets online now.

If men really do have problems, who or what causes them?

One of the aims of the 3rd National Conference for Men and Boys is to highlight the problems that men and boys face and bring together people who have solutions to some of those problems—as our short promotional video above highlights.

When we first came up with the idea of bringing people who think differently about men and boys together , we had to ask ourselves —what is the common thread that will unite all of these people.

We knew we couldn’t unite people around the causes of men’s problems, because there were too many conflicting views on what those causes are.

And we knew we would struggle to unite people around solutions, because the solutions people favour tend to differ depending on how they define the problem.

And so we simply decided to unite people around the facts that men had clear, measurable, undeniable  problems in terms of men’s health, male suicide rates, boys’ educational outcomes, fathers’ involvement in their children’s lives  and the amount of crime and violence involving men as victims and perpetrators.

And if people were concerned about those problems and interested in addressing them then, then we wanted them to come along to the National Conference for Men and Boys and start talking with other people about these important issues. This basic principle still underpins this year’s event and we’d love to see you there so do please click here to buy your tickets today if you want to get involved with this year’s conference.

As hosts of the conference it isn’t our role to enforce an opinion on what causes men’s problems and what the solutions are — what we attempt to do is ensure a mix of views are represented so all delegates can benefit from hearing a range of different perspectives. In doing this we encounter two dominant voices of dissent:

  • The pro-feminist voice that says the conference is too anti-feminist and doesn’t focus on the problems men and masculinity and the patriarchy causes
  • The anti-feminist voice that says the conference is too pro-feminist and doesn’t  focus on the problems that women, feminism and the matriarchal women’s movement causes

It is said that nobody is smart enough to be wrong all of the time so there is probably some truth in the fact that men, women, masculinity, feminism, the patriarchy and the women’s movement do play some role in the problems that men and boys face.

There are no doubt other causes too — pro-feminism and anti-feminism are far from the only perspectives in town — there are a whole host of other non-feminist perspectives that we welcome to the conference too.

One thing that is certain is this—when we start to look at all men and boys’ problems as a whole there is a clear domino effect between these problems.

If a father is not involved in his son’s life—whatever the cause of that fatherlessness—research suggests that his son will be more likely to struggle at school—if he gets poor results in school he is more likely to suffer poor health and live a shorter life—if he is excluded from school then he is at greater risk of offending and more likely to commit suicide—fatherless boys are also more likely to grow up in poverty, which increase their risk of premature death, suicide, poor education, crime and violence.

In fact you can take just about any issue that men and boys face and start to join the dots in this way and when you start to see the bigger picture you begin to gain new insights that go beyond your normal way of thinking about the problems that men and boys face.

So if you want to think differently about these problems, it doesn’t matter what your perspective is—if you are committed to making a difference for men and boys then you are very welcome to come along to the Third National Conference for Men and Boys this year.

To make get you book your place and come along to conference then please  click here to buy your tickets now.