Steve Biddulph’s bestseller on bringing up boys takes us on a trip back to the 19th century.
Indeed, the rights and well-being of the child are best served when relations between men and women in the household are based on mutual respect, equal rights and shared responsibilities. In line with this reflection and taking into account its past experience, UNICEF must broaden its research and programme focus to include men and boys as important actors in programmes of cooperation.
This background paper is part of an ongoing effort to better understand the role that men can play in the lives of children and women. Arguments for UNICEF’s support to activities focused on men and boys are discussed. This is supported by UNICEF’s previous and ongoing initiatives to involve men in development programmes for children and women as well as a general review of current literature.
Gender equality has long been synonymous with women and their struggle for economic independence, equal pay, and equal power. It has also been a key principle in eliminating oppression and violence.
However, gender equality is about both men and women. Men spend less time together with their own children, are more prone to accidents, are over-represented in crime statistics, and drop out more often from upper secondary education. These examples indicate that men would have much to gain from true gender equality. Men are under-represented in the teaching professions in preschools and schools, in nursing and children's social services. At the same time, men still sit in the majority of positions of power in society and they still make more money than women. It is mainly men who are the perpetrators of domestic violence.
In recent years there have been positive changes in the role of males in society. It has been almost 20 years since the Committee on Male Roles in 1991 presented its recommendations. The Committee on Male Roles pointed out the following goals: the reallocation of power between women and men, more time for fathers to care for their own children both before and after a family breakup, reduced gender differences in choice of education and training and the prevention of men's violence against women; all of these were to be central goals for the future work towards gender equality. In several areas the development in the period has been positive. In particular, there is reason to look at the development in the home, and the increased contact between fathers and their children. In other areas, however, the development has been stagnant or negative. While women have entered previous male arenas in the working life, there has not been any increase in employment of men in the health and care giving sectors. In the education sector men constitute a smaller group today than 15 years ago. Consequently, there is reason to reiterate the goals stated by the committee.
A new study says that parenthood pushes men and women in opposite political directions:
Last year, Australian feminist blogger Blue Milk posted "10 questions on feminist motherhood," which a range of mom bloggers have tackled.
I wondered: Could profeminist fathers adapt these questions for themselves? If yes, would it be productive, for them and for everyone else? And I thought: Why not give it a try and see what happens?
Australian author Stephen Biddulph has written a best-selling book about men but Gerry Orkin believes that Manhood misses the mark.
Myth: Women routinely make false accusations of child abuse or domestic violence to gain advantage in family law proceedings and to arbitrarily deny their ex-partners’ access to the children.
Facts: Allegations of child abuse are rare. False allegations are rare; False allegations are made by fathers and mothers at equal rates; The child abuse often takes place in families where there is also domestic violence; Allegations of child abuse rarely result in the denial of parental contact.
Fathers’ rights groups have attempted to: Wind back the legal protections available to victims of violence; Wind back the legal sanctions imposed on perpetrators of violence.
While fathers’ rights groups often claim to speak on behalf of male victims of domestic violence, these efforts undermine the policies and services that would protect and gain justice for these same men.
Fathers’ rights advocates also: Make excuses for perpetrators; Act as direct advocates for perpetrators or alleged perpetrators of violence against women; Use abusive strategies themselves; Work to undermine and harass the services and institutions that work with the victims and survivors of violence.
The fathers’ rights movement is defined by the claim that fathers are deprived of their ‘rights’ and subjected to systematic discrimination as men and fathers, in a system biased towards women and dominated by feminists. Michael Flood provides a critical assessment of the impact of fathers' rights groups on family law and their claims regarding violence.
Men have responded in complex and contradictory ways to the profound changes of the last three decades, changes set in motion by the women’s movements, changes in family organisation, economic and social shifts and other forces. Small numbers of men have responded by mobilising in support of feminist goals, changing their own behaviour and working with women to shift gender relations in progressive directions. Yet other men have mobilised in opposition to feminism and the changes in gender with which it is associated, forming “men’s rights” and “fathers’ rights” groups. An organised backlash to feminism is now visible among men in Australia, as in most other Western capitalist countries.