MAN: THE OTHER LOSER
There is nothing wrong with men, but there is something wrong with a world that shuts women out. (put somewhere)
These books, and this podcast, are for people of all genders. Contrary to some narratives out there, these are not “women’s issues”, these are everyone’s issues. Women are not a niche part of the population, they are half of it, which means gender equality isn’t only a fundamental human right, it’s also a necessary foundation for a more prosperous, peaceful and sustainable world.
This is why there will be a recurring section in each episode, called ‘Men are losers too’, that explores how men are negatively impacted and what they stand to gain in a more equal world. Of course this is a bit tongue in cheek, but the point being that men also lose greatly in a world that places strict, hierarchal rules on gender.
These are men’s issues, too
It's not a zero sum game
The notion that women’s rights are gained at the expense of men’s is not only unequivocally false, but there is much men stand to gain in a world where women are their equals. As it stands, men face many gender-specific issues such as lower life expectancy, bad health, lower education levels and rigid gender norms.
The expectations for men to uphold certain “masculine” behaviours prohibits them from expressing the emotions that make us fully human, such as sadness, fear, and love. It can also encompass immense social pressure to display ability, not make mistakes and be the sole “provider” which leads to high levels of stress and conversely, an accumulation of emotions.
In 2018, the American Psychological Association released new guidelines that detail how males who are socialised to conform to “traditional masculinity ideology” are often negatively affected in terms of mental and physical health. Though as the guidelines note, men often avoid seeking help from others, including from psychologists, because it could make them look weak.
So in this world, men are unable to express their feelings to themselves, their loved ones, or professionals without fear of cultural and societal backlash.
In the most extreme form, “toxic” masculinity is discrimination, subjugation or violence towards anything deemed “feminine”. This is what can happen when boys are taught to “man up”, to never express emotions; that they have to be tough all the time; that anything other than that makes them “feminine” or weak. This can manifest in violence, such as bullying, domestic abuse or sexual assault. It can also lead to substance abuse, poor social function, stress, depression, and even suicide. Globally, suicide rates in men are just over twice as high as for women. (use the dynamic chart in this link to see the rates for your country)
There is also research showing that in more gender equal relationships, not only are the women happier and healthier, but men are also happier and healthier. In addition to more household income and stronger relationships, men in gender equal relationships are twice as likely to say they are satisfied with their life, half as likely to be depressed, much less likely to get divorced; they drink less, smoke less, take fewer drugs, sleep better, and to top it all off, they have more frequent and better sex!
Gender equality is not about shaming men or getting rid of them or relegating their story to the footnotes to make space for woman’s. Not at all – its about adding the story of woman to our current narrative in order for us to start to be able to see the whole picture and free everyone from their suffocating gender box.
And we can only succeed with the participation of women AND men. So I invite all those who identify as man to join this podcast-community, and more importantly, to join this fight.
“To create loving men, we must love males. Loving maleness is different from praising and rewarding males for living up to sexist-defined notions of male identity. Caring about men because of what they do for us is not the same as loving males for simply being. When we love maleness, we extend our love whether males are performing or not. Performance is different from simply being. In patriarchal culture males are not allowed simply to be who they are and to glory in their unique identity. Their value is always determined by what they do. In an anti-patriarchal culture males do not have to prove their value and worth. They know from birth that simply being gives them value, the right to be cherished and loved.”
- bell hooks, The Will to Change (link)
If that's not enough...
Gender equality is good for children
When women are able to make their own reproductive choices, they are better able to care for the children they do choose to have.
When women have the same economic opportunities and pay as men, they will be better able to provide healthcare, food and opportunities for their kids. Research shows that in gender equal relationships, children are happier and healthier, they do better in school and have fewer behavioural problems.
Children aren’t only happier, but they are more likely to survive. Infant and child mortality rates decrease as a woman’s education increases. If all women in poor countries completed primary education, child mortality would drop by a sixth, saving almost one million lives each year. If they all had a secondary education, it would be halved, saving three million lives.
In a world with gender equality, children are set up for success and happiness.
Gender equality is good for business and the economy
When girls and women get equal education and job opportunities with men, all of society benefits. Studies have continuously showed that diverse workplaces are more productive and profitable. Businesses that put some women in the top leadership roles do better than businesses with only men in leadership.
Equal education and job opportunities also means reduced poverty rates and increased economic output. Closing the gender gap in the workforce could add $28 trillion to the global GDP. (use the dynamic chart in this link to see the GDP increase for your country)
Gender equality fosters peace
The most reliable predictor of whether a country is violent within itself - or will use military violence against another country - is not poverty, natural resources, religion or even democracy, it is violence against females. (taken from My Life of the Road - link). Research has shown that gender equality is the best indicator of a country’s likelihood to use military force. A country’s, and the world’s, peace improves as gender equality improves.
Gender equality is good for the planet
Increasing evidence shows that advancements in gender equality could have a profoundly positive impact on the environment. And conversely, “business-as-usual” approaches to the environment are proving disastrous for people and the planet alike, with huge potential to perpetuate gender inequality.
The UN Environment Programme has identified gender inequality as one of the main challenges to advancing the environmental component of its sustainable development goals, as it has negative impacts on access, use and control of natural resources, as well as the right to a clean, safe and healthy environment for all.
Gender-and-environment approaches are integral to a sustainable and just future for all.