Yes, we’ve heard it before. Why is there a Minister for Women and not a Minister for Men? Why is there an International Women’s Day but not an International Men’s Day? Why do we need the Orange Prize and the Stella Prize? And so on.
I have just commented on the need for a Minister for Men over at a blog, linked on Pav Cat’s blog (Stilllifewithcat), called The Conversation. I think the premise of the blog post is a good one – what could gender equity goals for men’s well-being look like? So how do we stop large numbers of young men dying in car accidents? How do we stop large numbers of men dying from preventable heart disease? Good questions and as a married woman and mother of a son, sister and aunty to three gorgeous nephews I want to prevent these things too. But is a Minister for Men really going to achieve this?
The post also asks how do we get more gender equity into nursing, childcare and education? I answered that you pay more to those professions. This may be a simple answer but I think it is a pertinent one. Get men to take more leave for childcare and family responsibilities? Now you are getting into the difficult stuff.
How would a Minister for Men change society so that people taking leave for childcare and family weren’t seen as slacking off? So that they weren’t sidelined from promotion or training. So that it wasn’t assumed that they couldn’t give their all for their employer because their loyalties were split? How do we change the perception of caregivers to people who are valuable to the community, who are saving tax payers an enormous amount of money with their unpaid labour, ensuring that the money is spent on people who really need the support and assistance? How do we value unpaid labour? (ha! say feminists since like forever)
I think what concerns me most is that the author of the the blog post on The Conversation is a member of a Gender Advisory group for the ABS. I’m hoping that his question about a Minister for Men was a bit of trolluming trying to get some debate going. I really hope so. Otherwise what is a Minister for Men but an empty gesture so they can say – see Gender Equity, Ministers for Men and Women. Done.
NB: to comment on The Conversation you have to sign up with them. I did so through facebook so my full name is on my comment. Just be aware if you want to preserve your anonymity. I haven’t put in links because I don’t want to bring in commenters who may be anti-feminist who we then have to deal with. You can find the link to The Conversation in the side bar of Stilllifewithcat.