Charities Call For Equal Treatment For Men On International Men’s Day
In the run up to International Men’s Day (Saturday 19th November 2011) around 80 charities and campaigns are calling on the UK Government to take more action to tackle issues facing men and boys.
The groups are concerned with addressing a broad range of issues including men’s health, fatherlessness, boy’s educational underperformance, male suicide, the lack of male role models in communities and the proportion of men and boys involved in crime and anti-social behaviour, both as victims and offenders.
The men and women backing the call represent a broad range of charities, campaigns, projects, public sector bodies and educational bodies including The Fatherhood Institute, Families Need Fathers, Mind UK, Prostate Action, The Mankind Initiative, The Campaign for Learning, Age UK, Christian Vision For Men and Black Boys Can
Glen Poole, Strategic Director of The Men’s Network and UK Co-ordinator for International Men’s Day said:
“This is the first time that such a broad alliance of individuals and organisation have spoken up about the specific needs of men and boys in the UK.
“We are all working in different ways to tackle major issues like fatherlessness, male suicide, men’s lower life expectancy, boys educational performance, the lack of male role models and men’s vulnerability to crime and criminality.
“What unites us is a commitment to help every boy to reach his full potential as a man and to improve the way the world works for every man, woman, girl and boy in the UK in the process.
“We recognise that there are many male voices in parliament, but there are very few male or female voices highlighting the specific needs of men and boys in the UK.
“The Government has already consulted with women and women’s groups on how government engages with and listens to women and we welcome this.
“This International Men’s Day we are asking Government to undertake to consult with men and men’s groups about how it can respond more effectively to the specific needs of men and boys in the UK.”
A SELECTION OF QUOTES FROM PEOPLE SUPPORTING THIS CALL TO DO MORE FOR MEN AND BOYS:
Malcolm Bird, Senior Men in Sheds Co-ordinator, Age UK said:
“We don’t want to take anything away from anybody, but surely fairness and equality should underpin democracy. I work with men over 55. It will become a massive problem area which is growing over the next few years as the ‘boomers’ come up to retirement and are left to their own devices: what a massive waste of skills and resources that needs action NOW and to do this, we need to do something about it. We have to raise awareness and Parliament need to be aware that roughly half of the population can be disaffected if their needs are not heard and not addressed.”
Steve Byhurst, Advice & Information Co-ordinator, Mind in Brighton and Hove said:
“We are aware that mental health services in the UK have a long way to go in meeting the specific emotional and mental wellbeing needs of men. We are committed to improving this situation in our area and our efforts will be strengthened by any Government movement to seriously address the subject of men’s health.”
Mark Brooks, Chair, The ManKind Initiative said:
“It is vital the voices of support groups for men are heard by government. Inequality affects men as well as women and in large areas of public policy, the needs of men and boys are given little if any attention. That simply has to change if we are to live in a truly equal society.”
Paul Howell, Executive Director, Journeyman UK said:
“Anything and everything that can be done to enable and encourage the healthy psychological, emotional and spiritual development of men and boys of all ages must be done and seen as a priority. In our opinion, young men and boys are hugely neglected in our culture and everyone suffers the unnecessary consequences of this neglect. We fully endorse this message to parliament in the sincere hope it generates significant policy debate on these key issues.”
Nathan Roberts, Development Manager for abandofbrothers said:
“By considering male gender issues, services could be more efficient and effective. This would both address some of the failing of current provision and save money in these difficult financial times.”
Pete Sayers, National Development Director, It’s a Goal!, Macclesfield Town FC, said:
“If you are a male between the ages of 16-35 you are four times more likely to kill yourself than any other group in society. We are supporting this initiative because at last there seems to be a voice speaking for those people, demanding that this issue, among a whole raft of others concerning men and boys, is addressed at once.”
Sue Parker Hall, Founder, Empathic Anger Management:
It’s not about giving men privileged treatment, or taking resources away from women and children, rather it’s about making men’s needs important as well and improving the quality of their lives so their wellbeing and life chances can be more similar to women. Women have fought long and hard to secure a better life for themselves. Unfortunately in this process men have fallen a long way behind. For me, this initiative is about achieving parity and holding men in higher regard than at present.
Tony Wright, Health Development Specialist for Brighton and Hove City Council said:
“My reasons for supporting this initiative are men have a lower life expectancy, a higher suicide rate and a higher death rate from cancer than women. For these reasons we need to ensure that the profile of men and boys health is discussed at a National level and solutions developed to improve health outcomes for men and boys and reduce health disparities.”
Berkeley Wilde, Director of The Diversity Trust said:
The Diversity Trust is working towards inclusion across all genders and gender identities, part of the process of ensuring gender equality. Where diversity thrives, so do people.”
Brian Hitchcock, Director of Legal Services, Men’s Aid Charity said:
“The Government should bring in a Shared Parenting Act to promote the equality of the sexes in the eyes of the law in the Family courts.”
Bob Balfour, Founder, Survivors West Yorkshire, said:
Male sexual victimisation is a hidden blight on the lives 1000’s of boys and men. For us to create a truly equal society, we all need to step back from fear and myth. By doing so, we can jointly tackle the real issues – issues which often sentence boys and men to the silent imprisonment of their emotional pain for decades.
Andy Wood, MensCraft, said:
“Issues for men and boys need to be given consideration by Government as well as those pertaining to women. Its an ‘and’ – not ‘either/or’. We welcome this initiative and urge the Government and womens’ organisations to begin a dialogue with responsible mens’ organisations.”
David Smith, Chief Officer, Gential Autonomy, said:
“The Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 protects girls from unnecessary genital surgery. This should be extended to include boys who currently do not have the same protection. There you go!
Sue Dominey, Torque, Leeds Met University, said:
“We are supporting this initiative because we care passionately about positive mental health and emotional wellbeing for all young males, and we want to reduce male suicides, self-harm, and gender specific risky behaviour. We need secure funding for male focussed, strengths and resilience based services.”
Pip Reilly, Mensfe (Male Infertility Support), said:
“We are fully supportive of the equality legislation however we feel it falls short in its intentions particular for males. The implications of not supporting males, may lead to loss of time at work, and possible broken families. Far from being net contributors to society, they may be at risk of falling through the net with disastrous consequences.”
Mike White, Director of U-Too Community Business Ltd said:
“The BBC reported recently that ‘”almost three-quarters of pregnant women on low incomes do not attend antenatal classes”. What about their men? They are equally important in the lives of their children, and the value of working with them needs to be recognised in service delivery.
Ray Barry, Leader, The Equal Parenting Alliance, said:
“A quarter of fathers are cut off from their children. Three times as many men as women commit suicide. Unfairness to men has become so institutionalised that such statistics raise barely a ripple of interest. It’s time to give men a fair deal, and we call on politicians to recognise there is a men’s vote to be canvassed as well as a women’s vote.”
James Williams, Editor, Men’s Matters:
“I would like to see a move away from the ‘blame men’ for everything culture that has been prevalent for many years now. All that has happened is that males have been demonized, isolated and marginalized. It has had a devastating effect on our youth such as high substance abuse and self harm. More funding is needed in areas of greatest need such as mentoring practices and activities to that will give children a real childhood.”
Steve Bevan, Founder of AMSOSA said:
“With laws primarily set by men, and with lots of real work being done by men’s agencies, this initiative should hopefully break down one of the last barriers to healing and recovery – that boys are victims of sexual abuse and rape, yet they fail to recognise that those boys then grow up, struggle to be heard, be recognised and supported fully.”