This report focuses on some key issues that impact men and boys as a distinct group, such as gender gaps in life expectancy, male suicide rates and boys’ education. While most of the issues outlined in this report can impact men and boys of all backgrounds, men are not a homogenous group and there are many different communities of men who will be at greater risk of being impacted by some of the issues.
Some men and boys, such as those with lower socioeconomic status and Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander males, will experience most of these issues more profoundly.
Some men and boys will have organisations who are working hard to advocate on their behalf. For example, the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) advocates on issues impacting the health and wellbeing of Indigenous men and boys; the National LGBTI Health Alliance works for males who identify as gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex and several organisations focus on the wellbeing of veterans.
Some men belong to groups where their gender is rarely considered or taken into account. For people with disabilities, for example, while there are specialist groups addressing the needs of women with disabilities, there are not parallel groups placing a specific focus on the needs of men with disabilities.
The same may apply to other groups of men and boys, such as those who are Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) and men in the criminal justice system. There are other groups of men who don’t appear to have any specialist organisations advocating on their behalf. These include the one in four men who lack social connection and the two million men who lack economic security.
All efforts to improve the lives and health of men and boys need to take into account the needs of different communities of men, at different life stages, living in different regions of Australia. The needs of sexuality, gender and bodily diverse people also need to be taken into account.
Promoting diversity also means working to be inclusive of people with different religious, philosophical and political viewpoints. We cannot hope to tackle the challenging social issues outlined in this report if we do not actively work to ensure people who hold a diversity of worldviews are able to bring solutions to the table.
Finally, promoting diversity also means working to be more inclusive of men, women and gender diverse people in settings where they are under-represented. For men this may include removing barriers for those who want to be carers, school teachers, health workers, hands-on dads, social workers, counsellors, psychologists and early childhood workers.
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