Thu, 01 Oct 2020

Men must play a constructive role to achieve gender equality

Independent Australia
02 Aug 2020, 16:52 GMT+10

Women will be safer when masculinity moves away from patriarchal dominance towards the pursuit of gender equality.

Men can contribute to this justice project and there is an opportunity to do so by signing up to HeForShe.

A 2019 report from domestic violence not-for-profit, Our Watch, citing 374 sources, found that men who adhere to masculine stereotypes of being strong, dominant and superior to women are more likely to perpetrate violence against women. The report indicated that safety for women can be achieved through redefining masculinity, promoting healthier, positive social expectations among men and boys.

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Clementine Ford, writing on the issue of gender, said:

Her thoughts on toxic masculinity encourage men to find ways to free themselves from aspects of patriarchy that limit their relationships with each other as well as hurting women.

Where can we find examples for men to act in a positive and conciliatory way? Clearly not in former 2GB radio host, Alan Jones, who in 2019 used violent language to rebuke NZ Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern. In 2020, on Jones' retirement from radio, Prime Minister Scott Morrison commended him for always doing the right thing by his country.

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Of an episode of Q&A that discussed violence against women that was "pulled" because of Mona Eltahawy's forceful language, Jennifer Wilson wrote for Independent Australia:

When the state intervenes to change the culture of violence, it faces backlash.

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For Caleb Stephen, the concept of white male privilege in the Victorian education program, Respectful Relationships, is:

Government failure in response to violence against women mirrors the inadequate attention afforded to isolated people with disability. A South Australian Government taskforce investigating abuse and neglect of a person in care found gaps in the system and a need for vulnerable people to have access to assistive technology. It has referred this to the Federal Government for urgent action. In Victoria, at least, there is the Victorian Andrews' government's healthy funding of diverse disability advocacy groups and the Disability Worker Commission to reduce risks of abuse for people with disability.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has demonstrated a willingness to contest the culture of violence against women and to deliver avenues of support for women. His Cabinet has equal female-male representation; his Government has strengthened its responses to domestic violence; and it has legislated measures for gender equity.

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The six top leadership positions in Queensland are all held by women but the mainstream media has scarcely noticed.

An untypical male hero has emerged in the form of the Thomas the Tank Engine singing volunteer, Ben Gibbs, who insisted that credit was due not to him for finding William Callaghan, but rather the community of searchers.

Another positive example of masculinity came to the fore when, instead of chest-beating and recriminations over how William was lost, step-father Nathan Ezhard and father Phil gave each other emotional support as they waited for him to be found.

To bring an end to domestic violence we need many atypical male heroes to help redefine masculinity. There is an opportunity right here and now in HeForShe: the United Nations Women Solidarity Movement for Gender Equality 2020.

COVID-19 lockdown worsens violence against women

The scourge of domestic violence has intensified during the lockdown period and the Prime Minister and religion must strongly condemn it, writes Dr Ray Barraclough.

For more information, see HeForShe.

Thea Calzoni is a member of the committee of management of the Victorian Advocacy League for Individuals with a Disability (VALID). You can follow Thea on Twitter @Calzonit.

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