June 2, 2009

Men in Power reflects larger rights movement

I was so happy to read about the student group “Men in Power” in the Chicago Tribune. Groups like this are part of a growing, global men’s rights movement that advocates for equal treatment of men in areas such as child custody, domestic violence policies, reproductive rights, criminal sentencing, public health policies, paternity laws, the draft, dating expectations, and more.

Opponents of this movement tend to reactively look only at gender disparities at the top of society (government, CEOs) while overlooking the bottom, where men account for 80 to 90 percent of homeless adults, work-related deaths, prisoners, and suicide deaths, as well as 99 percent of combat deaths and the majority of dropouts and special education students. Men also die younger and more often than women for the 10 leading causes of death.

In fact, the reason for the gender disparity at the top—including the “pay gap”—is that women have more options than men to be primary parents, and many of them exercise that option rather than work long, stressful hours. One study found 57 percent of female graduates of Stanford and Harvard left the workforce within 15 years. This is an option few men have (try being a single male and telling women on the first date that you want to stay home). The pay gap only looks at yearly incomes but doesn’t account for these options or for overtime (90 percent male), commutes, flexibility, physical risk, etc. This has been confirmed by a recent study funded by the Department of Labor, entitled “An Analysis of Reasons for the Disparity in Wages Between Men and Women.”

Marc E. Angelucci, Esq.

Board Member

National Coalition For Men