Wed | Jul 27, 2016

LETTER OF THE DAY - Do not neglect our boys

Published:Friday | December 14, 2012 | 12:00 AM


It is evident from history and contemporary statistics and theorising that females have been discriminated against for many years. Females have been made to settle for lesser positions because of their sex, which is coupled with others factors such as race and class in some instances.

This gave rise to numerous women's groups which now try to convince themselves that they are gender activists when they really still do have an agenda solely for the elevation of women. In advancing the cause of women, they often care very little about men, since they view men as the cause for the kinds of discrimination that women have been experiencing. But trying to fix the problems faced by women without involving men and boys will be fruitless.

As we seek to correct this ill of female discrimination and subordination, and allow for more social and economic advancement of women, let us be careful not to neglect our boys. While I see the need to ensure that girls are taught that they can lead and should fight against discrimination, not having men in the equation would create an imbalance similar to what we are trying to address with females.

It is expected that women's activists will say, "So what? Women have been on that side for too long, and so we need these unequal measures to correct the situation."

But I implore those who have the cause of gender equality at heart to be more conscious of the realities that there are disadvantaged groups of men, too, who need attention and who have been discriminated against over the decades. Men, too, need to be engaged, since the reality is that they are the gatekeepers. In the same way that women, as a group, are not homogeneous, men are not either.

If the needs of one gender are addressed and the other is left to suffer, this will not advance the cause of gender equality. I am for the empowerment and non-discrimination of women, but not to the disadvantage of men.

In that same breath, I would recommend that the Male Desk at the Bureau of Women's Affairs be strengthened to work in tandem with the department(s) of the bureau that deal with issues related to women. And by the way, the official name change of the Bureau of Women's Affairs to The Bureau of Gender Affairs is long overdue.