Sie sind hier: Startseite Gender Competence 2003-2010 Gender Mainstreaming Strategy GM and/or Policy on Men

GM and/or policy on men

GM and / or policy on men

Gender Mainstreaming (GM) addresses men directly as actors in gender equality policy. Within the framework of the strategy GM, men are taken out of their supposed genderlessness and localized within the context of existing gender relations. In many areas, policymaking has up to now been blind to gender-related differentiations. A largely male-defined norm, such as the family breadwinner in the area of labor market and social policy, has determined political action. A gender-sensitive approach exposes the supposed gender neutrality of policy models. Thus, the fact that not all men benefit from the defining male norm is also rendered visible. It is more the case that the attributes associated with traditional role expectations, such as lack of commitment, love of risk, willingness for action and independence in reproduction, to name just a few, also demand a high price from many men. In so-called male jobs they suffer from typical male occupational illnesses and have a lower average life expectancy.

Policy on men is confronted with a paradoxical situation in this connection. While policy is made mainly by men, this male-dominated policy is often not in the interests of men, because it denies gender-specific problems and subsumes all men under a (hegemonic) notion of masculinity. This contradiction can also be seen in the heterogeneous orientation of the various groupings in the men’s movement. While one part of policy on men derives its identity mainly from rejection of feminist approaches (victim discourse), others see just that gender approach as an excellent point of reference for an emancipatory policy on men.

Critical Men’s Studies have, in an approach deriving from Women’s Studies, developed an emancipatory approach to the role of men in gender relations. Existing images of masculinity are questioned and gender studies approaches are adopted and developed towards a male perspective. This research has yielded positive points of contact with Gender Mainstreaming.

Between an emancipatory policy on men and Gender Mainstreaming, common goals can be discerned. The strategy GM can contribute to a thematization of specific problems encountered by men in their various life situations. Building on this, firm requirements for action can be identified and suitable solutions developed. Gender Mainstreaming is not, however, compatible with an essentialist idea of gender characteristics such as that proposed by parts of the current men’s movement. The so-called Mythopoetic Men’s Movement, for instance, assumes a fundamental difference between women and men. It attempts to achieve a reconstruction of traditional masculinity in isolation from femininity. The strategy GM, on the other hand, based on the concept of Gender, proposes equal treatment of the genders in the diversity of their social and cultural forms.

A policy on men that is oriented to gender equality would have to be able to address the structural core of social changes, from which many men still benefit in the form of power and wealth. Compulsory role enforcement and male privileges are closely bound together, so that it seems rather unlikely that men can be freed from male stereotypes unless social inequalities are overcome. To this end, a policy on men that is oriented to gender equality should thematize power issues in gender relations more heavily than has been the case up to now.


erstellt von Administrator zuletzt verändert: 02.01.2010 20:07