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Do men matter? Tell the Government what you think!

The Australian Government is developing a new way to measure if its policies are working to improve the lives of all Australians. The proposed measures include a focus on gender issues that impact women and girls, but there are currently no plans to include a focus on the gender issues that impact men and boys.

The inspiration for this new approach is the OECD’s Framework for Measuring Well-being and Progress, which has already been adopted and adapted by many countries. In line with other countries, the Australian Government is open to creating specific measures that reflect our unique conditions, and we are keen to see men and boys included.

The Government has invited feedback on its plan – called Measuring What Matters – and we’d like your help to send a clear message that Men Matter too.

Tell us what you think

The Australian Men’s Health Forum is making a submission to this consultation calling for the Government’s Measuring What Matters framework to include a focus on the issues that impact men and boys.

We are seeking your input on two key questions:

  1. How should the Government apply a gender lens to existing OECD measures (i.e., measure if men and women are impacted differently or disproportionately by specific issues)?
  2. What additional measures could we propose to ensure the Government tracks whether the lives of men and boys in Australia are improving?

The closing date for submissions is 31 January 2022. To ensure your feedback informs our submission, please use our online survey to have your say by Friday 27 January.

Why does this matter for men?

It may not be obvious why a technical framework of measures and indicators has anything to do with improving the lives and health of men and boys.

Well, the clue is in the title of this process – “Measuring What Matters." The indicators included in this framework will inform the Government’s priorities for years to come.

Issues included in this framework will matter more to Government than the issues that are not.

We believe that issues impacting men and boys need to be included in this framework, because we believe men and boys matter.

How are women and girls included?

Out of the 32 measures in the OECD framework that the Australian Government is considering adopting, 4 are “gender” indicators that specifically measure issues impacting women and girls. They are:

  • The Gender Gap in Feeling Safe
  • Gender Parity in Politics
  • The Gender Wage Gap
  • The Gender Gap in Hours Worked (measuring whether women do more paid and unpaid work than men)

Our 5 priority areas

We have identified five priority areas covered by the existing OECD framework where we believe there is a case for specifically measuring the impact on men and boys over time:

1. Men’s Health

The proposed framework includes Life Expectancy and Premature Mortality, two issues that have a greater impact on men than women. We’d like to see the Government specifically measure the Gender Gap in Life Expectancy and Premature Mortality and take action to close this gap.

2. Boys’ Education

Boys’ education is a men’s health issue, with the quality of education boys receive being a key social determinant of their health in later life. The Government is proposing to measure 4 educational indicators and we believe this should include a focus on measuring and tackling the gender gap in education.

3. Work/Life Wellbeing

The quality of men's working lives and how they spend their time outside work significantly impact men's health. The OECD’s wellbeing indicators include a number of measures focused on work, time use, and financial wellbeing. We are seeking to identify meaningful measures (e.g., the excess burden of long working hours) where men are impacted differently and/or disproportionately to women.

4. Social Connection

Our social networks shape our health and many excellent men’s projects place a strong focus on the link between mateship and men’s health. The Government is currently proposing to measure levels of social interaction and social support. We’re keen to ensure that men’s social bonds are measured in a way that leads to more Government investment in men’s health projects that promote social connection.

5. Personal Safety

There are two proposed indicators that measure physical safety. These are the gender gap in feeling safe and the homicide rate (which doesn’t include a focus on the gender gap). In Australia, men are twice as likely to die by homicide while women are more than twice as likely to feel unsafe walking alone at night. We believe the homicide measure should include a focus on the gender gap. We are also open to identifying additional measures to keep men and boys safe.

Measuring what’s missing

The Government has invited proposals for additional indicators to measure how well it is improving the lives of all Australians.

AMHF seeks to identify measures that can track the health and wellbeing of men and boys over time.

To meet the Government’s criteria, any indicators we propose need to be relevant, complete, measurable, comparable, reliable and understandable (see more on these criteria here).

For example, we are concerned that the preventable causes of death that contribute to premature mortality in men are not explicitly included in the OECD Framework. These include male suicide, death through accident and injury and the high rates of heart disease deaths in men under 75.

Furthermore, men’s experiences of fatherhood, which can have a significant impact on men's and boys’ health, is not included in the OECD Framework. With this in mind, we seek suggestions on measuring men's experiences of fatherhood.

Finally, the National Men’s Health Strategy includes a focus on 9 priority populations which are not included in the Government’s proposed framework. We are interested to hear suggestions on how to include the wellbeing of men and boys in these priority populations.

The 9 priority populations are:

  • Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander males
  • Males from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds
  • Males living in rural & remote areas
  • Males with a disability
  • Males from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds
  • Males in the LGBTQI+ community
  • Male veterans
  • Socially isolated males and males in the criminal justice system.



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