So, I imagine a few of you will have heard the talk that Emma Watson gave for the UN’s ‘he for she’ project which is inviting men to the table to talk about, and campaign for, greater gender balance. For those that didn’t, you can see it here.
In short, Emma explains how gender balance is an issue for men and women, and if more men started to identify as ‘feminist’ and support women, not only in the workplace but in all environments, life would be a little better for all of us. To help expand the point we have constructed a handy little graphic
|Men should be strong, not show feelings, etc.||Men suppress their feelings||Increased stress through ‘bottling up’ feelings|
|Pressure on men to constantly achieve||Men feel they have to be ambitious and reach the top||Leads to increased working hours|
|Men’s work isn’t around the home or family||Men don’t feel they are able to spend as much time with their little ones||Stress and unhappiness|
|Men’s views of women||Pressure to agree with misogynistic views to stay in group’s favour||Feel isolated from group and unhappy at their own lack of action|
Don’t get me wrong, of course the issues for women are very arguably greater – after all, 2 women die a week in the UK at the hands of their partner (105 each year compared to 17 men per year), we suffer from a gender pay gap and we are not equally represented at the highest levels of society. But that’s only part of the picture. We need to start recognising that gender stereotyping and misogynistic behaviour hurts most people and that is why we need to work together to stop it.
Feminism is about equality, not about unfair advantage. It’s as much about men being able to be stay at home some days and feel respected for the valuable family role they are playing, as it is about women being able to feel safe walking down the street at night alone. Obviously some issues are more pressing than others, but working together against oppressive ideas can help move all of these challenges forward.
So what can you do?
For now, I only ask that you sign up to the ‘heforshe’ campaign then let us know you did so we can smile at what a lovely chap you are.
Because gender equality is very much our problem as a species, and that requires all of us working to overcome it.