Sunday, September 9, 2007

The New Hampshire Commission on the Status of Men

When we look around the world today one thing I note is the proliferation of organizations that have emerged to serve the needs of women. We are told that the reason such organizations focus on providing services for women, is because women are disadvantaged and they need help. While the argument is presented that men do not need such support because we have it so damn good, and yes we do have advantages but there are inherent hazards to masculinity. ( men die on average six years earlier than women, and commit 80% of all suicides)

There is no doubt that in certain areas women are still disadvantaged, particularly in third world countries, however the great strides that have been made for women in the west are directly related to the massive number of programs with this aim. I am grateful for many of the advances that feminism has stimulated in society, however its now time for men to be given the chance to reconceptualise themselves.

I came across an interesting summary of this imbalance and have summarised some of the main points. To read the complete version click here. In Australia men contribute about 70% of the total tax dollars collected. Yet women's programs receive over $5billion in funding while funding for specific male initiatives attracted only about $10million. Thus in regard to gender spending, it would seem that women get over 99 per cent of the funding and men get less than 1 per cent.

A google search is an interesting way to highlight the discrepancy when it comes to services for men. I just did a search for the term "office of the status of women" and received over 52,000 hits. A similar search for the term "office of the status of men" produced 8 hits.

Up until recently I was under the impression that no such office had ever been created for men. So you can imagine my surprise when I came upon the New Hampshire Commission on the Status of Men. This is a wonderful achievement, however, the fact that they seem to be the only one of their kind in the Western world (please feel free to correct me), is of concern. We need an office of this kind in every country in the world to reverse the pervasive discrimination that is damaging the lives of millions of men.

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