A new kind of male activism is beginning to emerge in the UK according to BBC political reporter, Anita Anand, who looked at the issue of ‘the men’s vote’ on Radio 4’s Beyond Westminster program – click here for details.
The following quotes are taken from the programme:
“For some time [political] parties have been falling over themselves to woo the women. But what about the other side of that equation – is anyone particularly bothered about the male vote?
“A new kind of male activism is beginning to bubble up. There are men out there who feel they are being ignored and frankly they’re sick of it.
“The Men’s Network in Brighton supports various bonding activities for men and their children, but also seeks to give a voice to particularly male concerns – issues like mental health, education, paternity leave.
“This is not a movement that seeks confrontation, organisiers say its more about lobbying for change and membership is diverse, the men might be divorced or happily married, they come from all walks of life and they have a strong sense of their distinctive needs and maleness.”
Glen Poole, The Men’s Network:
“Men’s issues would be things like boys in education, they’d be male suicide, they’d be poor male health , they’d be fathers trying to be involved in their kids lives, they’d be lack of male role models those kinds of things and the question is how do we get a new conversation around gender that includes everybody because there’s stills loads of really important issues for women that need to be focussed on , it’s that they’re often focussed on in a way that excludes men.
“They’re focused on as women or women or children’s issues and yet women and women and children don’t live in isolation from men. We’ve all got fathers, many of us have got partners, we’ve got brothers, we’ve got uncles, we’ve got sons. Men and women live in families and communities together.
“There’s an assumption that if you’re talking about men’s issues you must be anti women. And I think that’s the shift we’re starting to see as people are becoming more and more comfortable in talking about men’s issues in a way that doesn’t assume it’ss in opposition to women.”
“But maybe [politicians] also feel that isn’t PC to got out of their way to woo the male vote. Would it alienate women too much? Is that too much of a risk to take? There are those though who feel the risks are much more dangerous if the men feel ignored.
“The Men’s Network recently held a national conference, bringing together disparate men’s groups from around the country. Their aim was to have some political muscle, particularly when it comes to influencing both local authorities and NHS policy makers.
“Alex Bailey was there, in the past he’s worked as a Chief Executive and strategist for Brighton local authority. These days he is heavily involved with a group called abandofbrothers.
“This organisation seeks to provide young men, who have often been in trouble, with strong male role models. It wants to confront the lack of structure , discipline as well as understanding that it believes fuelled many of the rampaging young men in last summer’s riots.
“I asked Alex Bailey if he thought……there will be a time when a policy maker will sit down and say we are going to have now a male agenda and a female agenda that we will pursue with equal zeal?”
Alex Bailey, abandofbrothers:
“It may not be as simple as that, but in exactly the same way that dealing with a range of issues from a female perspective, has provided a very useful, I would say, lens, to look at issues – and potentially a tool to open opportunity.
“I think exactly the same thing is beginning to happen with men’s issues.
“If we take example the riots last summer in the UK, my recollection is 92/93% of those convicted were men Now that throws into quite stark focus the issue of if you neglect certain male issues, you do actually store up some quite considerable problems for yourself, problems in economic and social terms. Be that in men’s physical health, men’s mental health, criminal justice, education, there are a whole range of issues right across a range of all those spectrums., where actually not intervening early, not addressing some of those issues early on, young boys being excluded from school for example….
“If you look at the GCSE and A Level attainments we’re seeing a marked difference between girls and boys . Now there’s something going on here I think it’s fair to say and unless we start as policy makers to address those things I think in probably a generation’s time we’re going to see some pretty stark consequences of it.”
To read more about the Beyond Westminster programme on “the men’s vote” click here now.