Only last week it was International Women’s Day, sparking much debate about the differences in rights issues for men and women.
However, while it’s vital we all take steps to improve women’s rights, men’s issues are important too. Gender equality needs to work for everyone.
While women’s movements have been with us for several decades, it’s only recently projects have started appearing specifically to support men. Here’s just a few.
Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM)
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CALM is a charity that empowers men to speak up about what’s playing on their mind. By challenging ideas of toxic masculinity, the award-winning charity are working to prevent male suicide. Figures show that in 2015 75 percent of all UK suicides were male.
We believe there is a cultural barrier preventing men from seeking help as they are expected to be in control at all times, and failure to be seen as such equates to weakness and a loss of masculinity
Support is offered to men in the UK of any age via a helpline, web chat and website. The charity also works to bring about changes in policy and practice so that suicide is better prevented initially.
Grass Roots Suicide Prevention
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This Brighton-based charity have a ‘simple but powerful’ goal – no one should have to contemplate suicide alone. Their men’s suicide prevention campaign, #StayAlive, focuses on encouraging male friends to look out for and after each other. The aim is to foster open and direct conversations about any concerns someone might have.
Figures have shows that 1 in 40 men think about suicide over the course of a year but the charity are encouraging men to send in their #OkSelfies to facilitate open and direct conversations about suicide. A street art campaign has also taken place, on several electrical boxes painted around Brighton, to spread the message that it’s okay to seek help.
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Founded in 1986 as a helpline with services to support male survivors of rape and sexual assault, SurvivorsUK gained charitable status in 1989. As well as supporting all kinds of men, they hope to challenge perceptions of survivors from both the public and decisions makers.
We want to challenge the myths, preconceptions and stigmas that may differentially affect male victims of sexual violence. Such as the idea that male rape doesn’t happen and that men should be strong enough to fight off an assailant.
The charity added: “On the extreme end, some men have told us quite simply that the support saved their lives. Given the worrying figures on male suicide, this perhaps should not come as a surprise to us.”
Great Men Project
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The Great Men Project is a different kind of service, aiming to disrupt gender stereotypes. By challenging traditional ideas about masculinity, they hope to shape a world where men and women are given an equal chance to thrive.
Participant-led workshops are run in schools to help teenagers explore the expectations placed upon boys and girls. Boys are not presented as potential perpetrators, instead they are given the space to discuss issues and situations they encounter, from consent and healthy relationships to mental health, violence and porn.
Working With Men
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Multi-award winning specialist charity, Working With Men, supports positive male activity, encouragement and involvement, especially for those from marginalised backgrounds.
The charity focuses its interventions on transitional times in life when men are most likely to encounter challenges and need help the most, for example starting school or becoming a parent.
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Rebel Wisdom recognise that “for men to be authentic and speak their truth in today’s world is an act of rebellion.”
They create films and articles about big ideas in philosophy, transcendence and personal transformation, but agree that “ideas and intellect are not enough. Truth has to be felt and lived. That’s why we facilitate workshops to use these ideas to transform our lives.”
The ManKind Project
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A progressive men’s organisation that strives to be inclusive and affirming of cultural differences. Their aim is to “empower men to live their true potential”, something which is achieved through providing a range of training courses and a network of support.
Men are also equipped with the personal tools they need to benefit from the training, and a supportive online community. No longer is there a need for men to suffer in silence and lead lives of quiet desperation; The ManKind Project supports thousands of men to develop their emotional intelligence and find a personal mission, so that they can live a more wholesome and purposeful life.