An survey of professionals and volunteers working in the UK’s men and boys’ sector has revealed the Top Ten Men’s Issues according to those working in the frontline.
More than 300 men and women took part in the survey conducted by the International Men’s Day UK co-ordinating team in partnership with The Men’s Network.
TOP TEN ISSUES FACING UK MEN AND BOYS
1. Ending violence against men and boys
The majority of victims of violence in the UK are men and boys. Seven out of 10 murder victims are men and men are 70% more likely to be killed by someone they know and seven times more likely to be killed by a stranger. Male victims of domestic violence and sexual violence are less likely than their female counterparts to access help and support.
2. Stopping male suicide
Men are three times more likely to commit suicide and more than 10 men kill themselves every day in the UK.
3. Equal rights for dads
Unmarried fathers are not currently given automatic parental rights from birth and the amount of parental leave and pay new parents can qualify for is not equal for mums and dads. Campaign groups say law reform is needed to promote and facilitate shared parenting after separation and some are calling for an overhaul of the benefits system to support shared parenting. Currently when separated parents share care only one parent (usually mum) qualifies for support from the state through child benefit, housing benefit, child tax credits etc.
4. Giving boys a better education
One in ten boys, for example, leave primary school at 11 with a reading age of a 7 year old. Boys of all backgrounds are more likely to be excluded from schools ranging from white boys who are 2.4 times more likely to be excluded than a white girl to poor black boys with special educational needs who are 168 times more likely to be excluded from school than richer white girl with no special educational needs. Only one in eight primary school teachers are male and one in four primary schools have no male teachers.
5. Tackling negative portrayals of men in the media and promoting male role models.
6. Improving men’s health and life expectancy
Men of all backgrounds die on average 4 years younger than women with the gap between the poorest men and richest women rising to over 10 years. Men are less likely to access and benefit from health services. Men’s health researchers and campaigners say services need to change and become more male friendly if we are to tackle men’s health inequalities.
7. Tackling male disposability
The majority of homeless people, prisoners, children excluded from school, children put into foster care, unemployed people and isolated older people are men. More than 95% of people who die at work are men and the majority of soldiers killed in service are men. Some campaigners see this issue as a sign that we take men’s lives less seriously than women’s lives and conclude that men are treated as being more ‘disposable’. For some campaigners this perception of ‘male disposability’ is further exacerbated by the unequal number of schemes and initiatives that are focused on supporting and helping women.
8. Ending unnecessary male circumcision
Everyday, as many as 100 Unnecessary Male Circumcisions are performed legally on boys in the UK, often in non-medical settings without anaesthetic. This practice can and does cause death, disability, disease, pain and discomfort and physical damage.
9. Beating male cancer and tackling men’s cancer inequalities
Men are 70% more likely to die from the cancers that affect both sexes, less money is spent on researching male cancers, more than 90% of the people screened for cancer are women, and girls are now vaccinated against some cancers but boys are not.
10. Tackling male unemployment
According to the ONS Labour Market Statistics for May 2012 there are 2.6 million people currently unemployed in the UK and 6 out of ten of them are men. A report by the Higher Education Policy Institute think tank found that male graduates are 50% more likely to end up unemployed
For more information on the survey read International Men’s Day Survey news article.