There’s no need denying that gender inequalities do exist. For me, as an ordinary heterosexual man, this is quite obvious. Yesterday I wrote about how women have struggled for their rights through millennia against often physically larger and stronger men who have used their brawns to get the upper hand. Women still fight an uneven struggle all over the world, even here in Sweden, and when it comes to salary most men earn more money than women. That’s what my drawing above will illustrate. Women still become victims of rapes, prostitution, assaults in close relations/partner battering, slander, economic restrains etc. Things are changing slowly. I mentioned the UN women convention CEDAW in my text yesterday. Other laws and changes are made, both here in Sweden as well as elsewhere.
Nevertheless I would like to mention that men also have struggles in their lifes, and most men are brought up to stand up for themselves, protect the women from harm as well as their offspring, but occassionally get slander back from the opposite sex. This is pure biology. However, we ought to try and find ways to respect and love each other instead. Both women and men alike, vary a lot as individuals and have different values concerning woman- and manhood with us depending on who we are, what group we belong to, where we grow up, our sexuality and what we experience. Many men are forced out in wars, are wounded or get killed, and women often push us men in that direction. Out and get killed! But also many of us men use that part of our testesterone to fight among ourselves…and sometimes women. It has been like that since the days of hominid Lucy in East Africa. Here in Scandinavia too, which my sketch below shows. We must learn to listen in each other better, both men and women. Many see gender equality issues as women questions, but if we want to improve things in our world we must all reconsider.
I want to be as fair as possible and give you a chance to make your own judgement. Here in Sweden we have two male organizations which work for gender equality in different ways. The first one, Män för Jämställdhet, Men for Gender Equality, was started in 1993 by men within the Red Cross Sweden who grew tired of what they saw, how media and the society as a whole patronize women and make their problems invisible. The inspiration was the Canadian organization The White Ribbon Campaigne. Since 2006 Men for Gender Equality is part of the global network Men Engage. Men Engage is a global alliance of NGO’s and UN agencies that seek to engage boys and men to achieve gender equality. At the national level members include more than 400 NGO’s from Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, North America, Asia and Europe.
The other male organization is called Mansnätverket, The Male Network. They deal with taking care of more traditional manhood, but also men who are mistreated or forgotten by the other section, if they lost care of their children, simply are depressed and so on.
Here are the adresses. Make your own judgement:
Män för Jämställdhet, http://www.mfj.se, email@example.com, tel. 08-17 82 00. Here in Malmoe contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Men Engage, http://www.menengage.org
Why these choices? I believe that both men and women need to consider different aspects of gender equality and that we all, both men and women, in the long run will have a win-win situation if we start paying attention to each other without prestige-blinkers for our eyes.
Anders Moberg, November 24th 2012