Role of Men in Gender Equality

ROLE OF MEN IN GENDER EQUALITY 13

Roleof Men in Gender Equality

Roleof Men in Gender Equality

Genderis the term referring the roles, attributes and behaviors that aresocially constructed and regarded to be for me and others for women.Gender is the social distinction of the various aspects of life to beattributed to men women differently. Therefore, gender defines thethings that the society considers for men women. Therefore, genderequality is the concept that women and men should be treated equallywithout discrimination based on their gender. To achieve genderequality, both men and women should play a role in the process.Therefore, this study seeks to understand the role of both genders inthe attainment of gender equality. In addition, the study exploresthe dominant models of masculinities to understand the dynamics ofthe concept.

Balancedapproach towards men and gender equality

Theattainment of gender equalities requires addressing both genders forsustainable change in predominant imbalances. This is because bothgenders have distinct issue that affects their relation with theopposite gender. For instance, men may discriminate women because ofa perceived sense of masculinity. According to Belghiti-Mahut et al(2012), men feel that their superiority should be upheld in differentaspects of life, thereby fueling gender inequality. The concept ofhegemonic masculinity is the issue that concerns such men. This is acultural norm that tends to connect men to economic and poorachievements, which seem adverse to the equality and inclusions.

Therefore,men have a role in the achievement of gender inequality in thesociety by bringing change to the view of masculinity. In mostsocieties, men are known to be breadwinners and the superior gender,courtesy to the norm of hegemonic masculinity stated above (Connell,2005). Men should introduce changes to the society in terms of howthey are viewed and their primary role in the society. As a result,the role of men should change to that of a ‘caring masculinity”instead of being the breadwinners. Through such change, the conceptof masculinity will gradually change from being driven towards genderinequality to gender equality.

Inaddition, men have a role in changing the way the society addressesthem. There is gender inequality because men are addressed as thegender with higher mental ability and physical abilities. This can beattributed to hemogenic masculinity and cultural norms that tend toconsider men as the superior gender. However, change can be sustainedif men are actively involved in the process. Through the change, menshould not be addressed as homogenous groups, but they should bediverse through the mental and physical abilities. As a result, theview that both genders have similar, yet diverse levels of mental andphysical abilities will dominate the recovery from inequality togender equality.

Inaddition, men have a major role to play in the achievement of agender equality and equity through elimination of genderdiscrimination (Farré, 2012). Particularly, men have a role inending male discrimination of women based on the fact that they arefeminine. Male discrimination perspective should be rejected andprogressive aspects of embraced in the approach to gender equality.This can be achieved through adoption of the approach of thepro-feminist policies, and critical men policies, and examine genderequality policies. The adoption of these approaches can only bepossible is if men play an active role in the development ofideologies that fight against male-propagated discrimination againstwomen.

Genderequality also entails the observation of the rights of men and notjust those of women. However, the status of observing the rights ofmen and women is inclined in favor of men and not women. As a result,men have a role in the observation of the rights of women, despitebeing in the forefront of fighting for their own rights (UNESCO,2009). This is because the attainment of gender equality willtranslate to the observance of the rights of all. In most cases,men’s rights approaches tend to underline only costs of masculinityand tend to describe them as a social group that is discriminatedbecause of feminist progress. However, the role of the feministprogress is to bring the status of women at par with that of men, andnot to overcome men.

Therefore,there should be a balance between the fight for women rights andobservance of the rights of men. The rights are observed throughadoption of pro-feminist policies. The pro-feminist men`s policiesand initiatives emphasize facts that gender hierarchies may beharmful for both women and men (Farré, 2012). Although women are themost oppressed while men drift between cost and privileges of beingrepresentative of many dominant groups, the policies also affect men.Therefore, an optimal balance between the two ends should be observedso as to avoid the negative impacts of extreme observance ofpro-feminist policies at the expense of the concerns of men.

Men,education, and gender equality

Oneof the areas of convergence and an optimal balance between theconcerns of men and women is in the job market. The job market is oneof the areas where gender discrimination is prevalent therebyfueling gender inequality. Mostly, employers discriminately prefermen for positions that women can handle. The discrimination in thiscase arises when men are hired for jobs that more qualified women aredenied or locked out of (Eastin &amp Prakash, 2013). This becomesthe hallmark of the features that are divergent on the two genders aseach seeks to benefit from the limited labor opportunities. Theconvergence of the basic labor market features between women and menwould therefore standardize the processes of equitably sharing suchopportunities and with observance to gender equality.

Theconvergence is evident due to the employment rate, whereby there isthe decrease in men`s employment rate as compared to women. Thedecrease in the rate for men is as a result of an increase in theemployment rate of women, which was not existent before (Eastin &ampPrakash, 2013). It is even more important that some of the employmentopportunities that women are currently getting are positions thatwere previously reserved for men. This means that the convergence ofthe interests of both men and women in the job market will translateinto recognition of the sense of equitable job distribution andgender equality.

Toachieve the economic benefits of gender equality, men have a role toplay in the creation of balance between the two genders. This isbecause gender inequality has consequences on the society, especiallyon the economic scene. This is because the economic crisis has agreat impact towards men and their employment, especially when theyare the only breadwinners. At the same time, an economic crisis has ahigher impact on women because of cutbacks in many state services(Eastin &amp Prakash, 2013). If the two genders were equally treatedin the distribution of economic resources and opportunities, thesociety would not be more dependent on each other, instead ofcontinued reliance on men.

Itis important to note that economic trends affect men and womendifferently. Therefore, gender equality would distribute the impactsof the economic trends of the society. For instance, men with youngchildren tend to have higher employment rates compared to thosewithout families and children. On the other hand, women withoutchildren are preferred to hold higher employment rates compared tothose with children. This is the direct opposite of the two genders,a difference that depicts a society dominated by gender inequality.The perception is that men with families are more responsible, whilewomen with children are less reliable due to family responsibilities(UNESCO, 2009). This diversity of perception shows elements ofinequality that affects the society, and can be changed if men adopta different approach.

Menhave a critical role in educating the society on the change ofperception and attitude towards women. This is because men have aninfluential position in the direction of public opinion and attitudetowards social, economic and political issues (Belghiti-Mahut et al,2012). The main educational role that men should play is to shift theperception of the society regarding the primary role of a man. Themen’s attitude tends to shift from provider roles tocare-integrating models. This is the view that should be adopted notonly by the society, but also by educators and employers. However,many companies and public, opinion leaders have remained rigid tochange the views of men.

Men,care and gender equality

Menhave a role in the attainment of gender roles by being agents of careand service in the family and the society. By embracing service andcare to the society, the perception about men as masculinities willchange for the betterment of the gender equality (Connell, 2005). Recent studies have shown a complementary change in the role of menin the concept and practice of care in many parts of the world.According to Belghiti-Mahut et al (2012), the role of men in care inEurope has significantly changed over time, leading to a change inthe attitude of the society about gender roles. Taking the roles thatwere held by women in the provision of care services has led to thechange in perception.

Forinstance, men’s share of housework and care varies negatively withincome but positively with education. The role in housework variesnegatively with income because as men earn more money, they find itinappropriate to work in the house (Davis et al, 2012). Instead, themore money they earn, the more they find it convenient to hire peopleto work in the house. In addition, they feel more superior to womenas they earn more money thereby fueling gender inequality. However,there is a positive variance of men’s housework role in education.The relationship is because, as men gain more education, theyunderstand the need for equal roles between the two genders.

Menhave a role in promoting gender equality through the embrace of careand provision of housework services. Menwith gender equality beliefs and norms predominantly participate inthe caring for children and housework (Farré, 2012). On the otherhand, men with traditional expectations of divisions of unpaid andpaid work between women and men tend to show low participation rates.From this variation, it is clear that education is important tochange the beliefs of men in regard to their role in the provision ofcare. This explains why young and educated men are likely to sharegender-equality expectations and norms, which always lead to higherparticipation in caring for children and housework.

Men,violence and gender equality

Theprevalence of gender violence is perhaps the most extreme form ofsuppression of women that fuels gender inequality. According to Flood(2011), this is because men commit the majority of violence throughvarious forms of infliction of pain. The forms commonly used toinflict violence are psychological, sexual, and physicalperspectives. Therefore, men have a role of ending gender violence inthe society by embracing respect for women. According to Peacock andLevack (2004), men should embrace approaches of compromise andnon-violent ways of solving issues within the two genders.

Bydeveloping the compromise approaches, men will avoid the use ofviolence as a tool of promoting their masculinity in the society.Violence falls under the gender behavior that addresses thegender-based violence that causes structural inequality and theimbalance of power between men and women in the society (Flood,2011). As a result, levels of inequality reach extreme levels thataffect the respect for women as members of the society.

Men,health and gender equality

Thereis gender inequality between men and women in terms of health statusof each gender. According to Belghiti-Mahutet al (2012), the life expectancy of women tends to be higher thanthat of men, with 77.6 years for men and 82.5 years for females. Theinequality can be attributed to increased work and responsibilitiesto women, in addition to their maternal roles of giving life andcaring for young ones (Moss, 2002). This calls for an active role ofmen in the development of strategies to promote provision of healthservices to women.

Therole of men in the society should change to reflect equity so as todistribute the efforts of women and men equally. This is because thehealth of each of the gender will be affected negatively if they workmore than the other (Davis et al, 2012). Neyer et al (2013) arguesthat men’s health problems and cases of premature mortality ratesare also part of social inequality. Therefore, the role of men canalso be extended to be caregivers for women by being there wheneverthey face health challenges. In addition, taking care of the familyby providing a healthy diet should be part of the role orresponsibility of men, and not just the women.

Conclusion

Bothmen and women have responsibilities in ending gender inequality inthe society. However, men have a higher role to play to promotegender equality. This is because most of the practices of genderinequality are attributable to men and not women. Therefore, menshould adopt balanced approaches towards the understanding of genderissues, gender equality and masculinity. Through the provision ofcare and learning about balancingresource distribution, men will play a significant role in theattainment of gender equality. Moreover, promotion of equaldecision-making roles and sharing of care and houseworkresponsibilities will positively influence men to embrace their rolein promoting gender equality. Men are more significant in the questto attain and sustain gender equality through the role that theyshould play in health, care, ending violence and education.

References

Belghiti-Mahut,S., Bergmann, N., Gartner, M., Hearn, J., Hotler, O., &amp WojnickaK. (2012).

The – European strategies &amp insights.Prepared for European Commission, DG Justice – Unit D2 Genderequality. Contract ref. no. VC/2010/0592

Connell,R. (2005). Change among the gatekeepers: men, masculinities, andgender equality in

theglobal arena. Signs: Journal of womenin and culture and society 30(3):1801-1824.

Davis,J., Luchters, S. &amp Holmes, W. (2012) Men and maternal and newbornhealth: benefits,

harms,challenges and potential strategies for engaging men, Compass:Women`s and Children`s Health Knowledge Hub.Melbourne, Australia.

Eastin,J., &amp Prakash, A. (2013). Economic Development And GenderEquality: Is there a gender

Kuznetscurve? World Politics,65(01),156-186. Cambridge University Press.

Farré,L. (2012). Therole of men for genderequality. New York: Barons Press.

Flood,M. (2011). Involving men in efforts to end violence against women.Men and Masculinities14(2) 358-377.

Moss,N. E. (2002). Gender Equity And Socioeconomic Inequality: a frameworkfor the &nbsppatterning of women`s health. SocialScience &amp Medicine, 54(5),649-661. New York: Elsevier.

Neyer,G., Lappegård, T., &amp Vignoli, D. (2013). Gender Equality andFertility: Which equality &nbspmatters? EuropeanJournal of Population, 29(3),245-272. Springer

Peacock,D. &amp Levack (2004). The men as partners program in South Africa:reaching men to end gender-based violence and promote sexual andreproductive health. InternationalJournal of Men`s Health 3(3):173-188.

UNESCO(2009) Role of Men and Boys in Promoting Gender Equality. UNESCOadvocacy brief.

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