One of the key ways to measure the effectiveness of public services is to measure the outcomes they deliver for different groups. All too often services do not provide separate statistics for Men and Boys making it impossible for the public to see the true picture of what is happening with men, women, boys and girls.
The City’s Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) that is intended to give us “the big picture” in terms of the health and wellbeing needs and inequalities of a local population consistently fails to define the very distinct and different experience of Men and Boys.
For example the JSNA tells us that an estimated 2,957 10-16 year olds living in Brighton & Hove are at an increased risk of becoming problematic drug users – but we are not told what proportion are boys. What we do know is that Brighton & Hove is the UK’s drug death capital with a death every week and men four times likely than women to die a drug-related death.
However when this issue is reported publicly we don’t talk about men dying – we simply refer to ‘people’. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-11094703
This systematic failure to identify outcomes by gender prevents us from collectively focusing on the problems that ‘Men and Boys’ face as a distinct group and identifying and delivering solutions that are appropriate to – for example – teenage boys who are at highest risk of dangerous substance abuse in later life.
Some of the key areas where Men and Boys are experiencing by far the worst outcomes that need to be specifically highlighted and addressed as gender issues if we are to create A City That Works For Everyone – Men and Boys included are:
- Homelessness and Housing Issues
- Men’s mental health
- Violence involving men and boys
- Drug misuse
- Problem drinking
- Regular smoking
- Work-related deaths
- Father Involvement
- Young Fathers
- Separated Fathers
- Boys Literacy
- Boys educational performance
- Boys excluded from schools
- Male NEETS
- Male worklessness
- Male graduate unemployment
The Government’s new Equalities Strategy sets out 5 rules for change which includes “being open and clear” to make it easier for people and groups to find out where there is unfairness.
One of key goals in 2011 will be to support the public sector in being open and clear by making all relevant data for Men and Boys publicly available starting with the 2011 Joint Strategic Needs Assessment.