Anita Copley is helping to organise an all-panel discussion about the role of men in fighting for gender equality in Wales called #MenOnOurSide. Here she calls on men to join forces to tackle gender inequality.
So we all know the female is the underrepresented sex in top jobs. We’ve shouted and campaigned for about 100 years now and finally, men seem to be stepping up. The #HeforShe campaign saw Emma Watson formally invite men to join the conversation on gender equality. This was followed by the first ever all male conference discussing issues around female representation, nicknamed the Barber shop conference. But have we taken one step forward and two steps back?
Feminists and Meninists have taken to twitter to start a war. By the way, a Meninist is someone who fights for male rights, somewhat ironically. After Emma Watson’s speech, hundreds of bloggers and tweeters started to discuss how male problems also need to be addressed in order to move forward in gender equality.
Feminism versus Meninism
This escalated into childish debate between #Feminism and #Meninism. For example a woman tweeted “If you believe women should have equal rights as men you are a #Feminist” to which a man replied “just saw a girl lifting something heavy, what an outrage!!! #meninist” and so the abuse begins, with endless sarcastic tweets addressing series issues such as domestic violence, careers and rape.
This then led to #Meninist branded T-shirts and jumpers as being sported around university campuses. Which then lead to a lot of females also sporting these jumpers because it’s still very confusing if this is an ironic or serious campaign. Which then lead to even more abuse like “Any female that wears a #Meninist shirt is honestly the definition of thirst for male approval”.
So you get the point. A woman’s ‘problem’ was addressed, and then a few males raised the point that men have ‘problems’ too and how are they being addressed? And before you know it we’ve started a war. There are now endless spoof campaigns for nearly every gender equality issue you can think of and at the end of the day what are we achieving by participating in these campaigns?
There are not male or female problems
Have we forgotten that when it comes to equality there are not ‘male’ or ‘female’ problems? It’s about everyone and it involves everyone. It’s gender equality, and last time I checked there was more than one gender.
So let’s propose a cease fire, and sit down at the table to discuss real change. The first step Women of Wales will take is to host an all-male panel discussion on 12 March for International Women’s Day with some fantastic men who care about achieving gender equality.
As Emma Watson said, “How can we effect change in the world when only half of it is invited or feel welcome to participate in the conversation?” Well let’s start talking about our problems, and face them together as men and women. Let’s find solutions to our problems in gender equality and leave the twitter trolls to it.
- It's men's responsibility to make gender work a reality (Dr Neil Wooding, ONS)
- Men in Wales face institutional sexism (Paul Apreda, FNF Both Parents Matter)
- The struggle to make a difference for male victims of domestic violence in Wales (Tony Stott, Healing Men)
- Official thinking on equality and diversity in Wales excluding men (Glen Poole, insideMAN)
Anita Copley works for the Presiding Officer of the National Assembly for Wales, Dame Rosemary Butler AM who launched the Women in Public Life campaign in 2012.
You can find out more about “Men on our Side” discussion in Wales on Thursday 12th March by visiting the Women Making a Difference website.