Coalition on male issues
Across many different sectors, there is increasing recognition and discourse surrounding issues that affect men and boys. Whether this is the recent commitment by the Crown Prosecution Service to recognise the needs and experiences of male victims of sexual and domestic violence; the creation of a pioneering investigation by the Women and Equalities Committee into fathers and the work place; the acknowledgement by Theresa May of the plight of white, working-class boys within the education system; or the increasing awareness surrounding men’s poor mental health and high suicide rate, discourse around men, boys, and masculinity is growing steadily.
This can only be a welcome development, considering that such issues have suffered from substantial neglect in a climate that is too frequently characterised by gender-exclusive, rather than gender-inclusive, narratives.This ever-growing shift is no accident however. Rather, it is the result of tireless efforts by hundreds of individuals who, in a productive and positive manner, are raising awareness of the issues and needs of men and boys. Importantly, a new breed of activist has arisen to advocate on behalf of men, one who recognises the struggles and gender-based restrictions suffered by both sexes. We are breaking free of the gender wars, the us vs. them mentality, to tackle the bigger picture, the gender monster under the bed, and the issues it bestows on all of us.
One organisation attempting to bring together such individuals is The Men and Boys Coalition. This international collection of charities, organisations, academics, professionals, politicians and journalists aims to: highlight and tackle issues where the needs of men and boys are currently unmet; highlight and tackle the circumstances where the victims of unfair discrimination are men and boys; and help create positive and constructive public discussion about men, manhood and masculinity.
As co-founder and academic lead, one of my tasks is to bring together academics from across the country (and world) who conduct work on issues that affect men and boys. These include men’s health, mental health and the high male suicide rate; boys’ challenges in education; marginalised men (e.g. the homeless); victims and survivors of abuse, rape, sexual exploitation, domestic abuse, forced marriage, honour-based crime, stalking and slavery; men as parents; and the negative portrayal of men, boys and fathers, particularly in the media.
By creating this academic network, we hope to: stimulate further research by providing links and coordination between academics; provide access to unique and hard-to-access participants; facilitate wider dissemination of research on male issues; and provide experts to speak on issues when required by the media. I am therefore calling on academics across the country conducting work in any area concerning men and boys to get in contact with me directly at [email protected] if they wish to be involved with this network, or the coalition at large. Together, we hope to inspire positive change for men and boys across the UK, and beyond.
Senior Lecturer in Psychology
University of West London
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