Mens Day – An unimportant patriarchal idea, or an important day for human rights and gender equality?

Contributed by:  Yuval Kehila

Now with the month of December well on it’s way, and in the midst of ‘dressember’ , we come to think a lot about women and gender equality. I remember Women’s Day this year, which happened on March 8th, like every other year. I remember people wearing pink at my old school and getting their nails painted and bracelets made to earn money for the cause. We even had an assembly about women facing injustice. I saw a bunch of people wearing women’s rights shirts on Orchard and on the bus, and there were a bunch of messages and photos posted by my friends and family in celebration of the fight for women’s rights. I was happy that important issues were being shed light on, especially since the money was going to places like Saudi Arabia, where women are facing a real, and pertinent injustice to date.

Then came November 19th, not that long ago. I assume little of you know that the 19th of November is actually International Men’s Day, and has been since 1992 – though it was stopped and reintroduced in 1997. Does anything happen at any schools that I’ve been to on Men’s day? Not that I saw. There were no people on the bus wearing shirts, and there was no nail painting or fundraising. I remember asking: why?

Why do we celebrate ‘Women’s Day’ but not ‘Men’s Day’. I, for one, am very active and conscious about humanitarian fights for rights and equality, and many political movements. I personally enjoy not only getting involved – yes spending my own time – in organisations and events, but I personally enjoy conversation about issues as well.

However, it was not to my surprise that when I approached people about the lack of celebration, I only got responses like ‘We don’t need a Men’s Day’, or ‘We celebrate Women’s Day because there is a real issue of women’s rights!’. I don’t think it is of any surprise to the rest of you either, and I’m sure that some of you even responded this way while reading this.

I recognise that this is something very controversial, and that this article may anger a lot of people, however I ask of you all to take a few minutes to just watch this video with an open mind. I don’t write this to anger anyone. In fact, that would be quite counter intuitive of me.

I will try to keep this article as short as possible, despite the overwhelming amount of information to cover, and I will provide some extra knowledge sources for anyone interested below. Anyways, here are some of the areas in which men are facing injustice worldwide, especially in the 70 most developed nations. The goal of this article is to introduce these issues and bring them to light, and maybe for some of you to continue thinking about them later.

1. Parental custody

Men during a divorce are much less likely to receive custody of children in most countries. Take Canada for example, mother exclusive custody is 79.3% of the cases, whilst men exclusive custody make up only 6.6%, the rest being shared custody and others (i.e. child taken for adoption). The living arrangement is so that 86.8% of cases have children living full time with their mothers.

2. Rape risis centres

Until the year 2013 the FBI defined rape as only pertaining to women. Whilst the statistic of domestic rape (not including prison rapes that pretty much balance out the man/woman rape data around the world) shows a distinct majority of women victims, there is a serious problem of many rape crisis centres which to date deny men and boys entry to their shelters. Additionally, we live in a world where violence towards men is an issue barely mentioned. The national rape charity of the UK quote “We know that many men and boys are raped and sexually assaulted and so suffer the same traumas that women do. But because out centres are for women only, we aren’t able to offer men or boys long-term support.”

BBC found that many agencies screen men what claim they are victims, whilst immediately accepting and believing women. and that whilst there are over 4000 places for women in refuges, there are only around 16 dedicated for men in the UK. Don’t believe me? Google it!

Notably something called the NISVS, which stands for the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, in the USA, found that the amount of men and women claiming to be victims of sexual assault are about equivalent with 1.270M females and 1.267M males.

3. Incarceration and violent crime

In august 2012 Sonja B. Star published a study titled Estimating Gender Disparities in Federal Criminal Cases. Through examining countless records and cases in the US federal criminal database, she found that men received 63% longer prison sentences with similar criminal history and for the same crime. She also found that women are much more likely to evade any sentence altogether.

4. Lack of cancer research

Breast cancer is almost exclusively a female affecting cancer. It is the third most common cancer in the world, after lung at number one, and prostate at number two. To put this simply, one in eight women get breast cancer in their lifetime, whilst one in six men get prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is exclusively a male cancer, as it affects the male reproductive system, and though it is more prevalent and deadly than breast cancer, it receives less than half the budget worldwide (around 200 million worldwide in 2010 as compared to 631 million for breast cancer that same year, and the difference is growing.) that breast cancer receives. In fact, breast cancer receives nearly double the budget of any cancer worldwide.

Until recently, many hospitals did not even recognise or invest in treatment options for men with breast cancer, which shows that this is a predominantly gender based issue.

5. Suicide

Suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK. This is similar in many countries. Male suicide was the theme of International Men’s Day this year, and the rate of male suicide is growing at a rate exponentially greater than that of women’s suicide. Men kill themselves around 3-4 times more than women worldwide. Suicide in the UK takes 12 male lives per day. In the USA, that number is 89 men per day. In India this number is exceedingly high as well. The likelihood of male suicide also skyrockets much more than that of women after divorce, which is arguably an affect of the way men are treated in divorce by the law.

Due to the length of this article, some other areas to think about are listed below, and some interesting sources as well.

  • Education (women outweigh men in universities 2 to 1).
  • Mandatory or even voluntary military service being often exclusively male, and women are not required to be in combat roles.
  • Cases of Internet harassment are taken much more seriously when they are against women.
  • Men face more employee healthy risks, work more dangerous jobs for longer hours, and receive less time off on average.
  • Single mothers often receive tax returns but not single fathers

This article is based very much on this video:

Additional Information:

Christina Hoff Sommers –

Karen Straughan –

Alison Tieman –

Nicole Sund –

Janice Fiamengo –

Caroline Kitchens –

Katy khaos –

Cristen Conger –

Survivors Manchester –

Survivors UK –

Lee Lemon –

Vinny Mac –

Anne Thorn –

Warren Farrell –

Deepika Bhardwaj –\

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