Gender inequality results in poorer outcomes for men
Traditional stereotypes are often just as difficult for men to live up to. There are enormous pressures to be a ‘real man’, to demonstrate physical and emotional strength, and to provide financially as the family ‘breadwinner’. Trying to live up to this ideal can lead to feelings of inadequacy. Yet the pressure to remain emotionally resilient often prevents men seeking help.
Men are more likely to consume alcohol excessively; more likely to engage in violent and risky behaviours; and less likely to admit pain, seek medical advice or have a strong social network from which to ask for help. Among young Australians aged 12 to 24 years there are three male deaths to every female death, with accidents and suicide accounting for most of the difference. In 2015 around 76 % suicides were by men.
We are all responsible for making gender equity a reality in our workplaces and this change needs to be led from the top. Real change becomes possible when we have open and challenging conversations about gender equity. Real and positive change—disruptive change—also needs to start with a 'yes'.
- Adam Fennessy, Secretary, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Victorian Male Champions of Change
Gender discrimination cuts both ways
Men may face discrimination or disapproval when taking on career paths, caring responsibilities and activities traditionally reserved for women. For example, men account for only 5% of the early childhood education and care workforce and are radically under-represented in the maternal child and health workforce. This creates challenges for men seeking out careers in these industries. While many men want to take more equal responsibility in caring for children, workplace practices often prevent or discourage them from taking extended parental leave or from working flexibly.
Men who have better access to flexible work are more productive in their jobs, report higher work performance, cope better with higher workloads, have fewer absences and have lower levels of personal stress and burnout.
Too often, gender equity is seen as a women’s issue, a feminist issue.
I find this just as nonsensical as racism being an issue just for Indigenous
Australians or our more recent immigrants. Just as racism devalues
and degrades us all, so does gender inequity.
- Prof Doug Hilton, Director, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Victorian Male Champions of Change
It's time for the men, who by and large hold the positions of power in
our community, to step up beside women to advance gender equality.
Change needs everyone and will benefit us all
- Kate Jenkins, Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Convenor, Victorian Male Champions of Change