Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Men on International Women’s Day

Posted by jonathanfryer on Monday, 8th March, 2021

Today is International Women’s Day, so surely men should shut up. Absolutely not! To spare the event being tokenistic, putting women in the spotlight just for today, while men dominate the public sphere for the other 364 days in the year, men should stand up and be heard on International Women’s Day as vocal champions of true gender equality. Can men ever be feminists? You bet they can, if they recognise that women’s place is everywhere, alongside men. Of course there are cultural differences around the world, but the cause of women’s rights has advanced a great deal in recent years. It is true that much remains to be done. Only in a very few countries do women make up more than a limited number of parliamentarians. But the world of politics is by no means everything. The work place and the domestic space are equally important in ensuring that women have a fair deal. And men have a crucial role to play in this, if necessary modifying their behaviour from the patriarchal “norm”. The two sexes can learn a lot from each other, but not when they are hidebound by ideas from the past. I’m not saying that there are no differences between men and women; obviously there are. But many of these are related to constructed gender rather than biological characteristics. More important, we need to acknowledge and celebrate real difference where it does exist — and accept that by having the full contribution of both men and women in at all levels society will mean a healthier future for us all. So, happy International Women’s Day, everyone — including the men!

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