What's in the Northern Territory Men's Policy?
The Northern Territory Government has announced $100,000 of funding to support its Men’s Places Policy and Program. Here we take a look at the key elements of this innovative Government initiative.
What is a Men’s Place
Men’s Places are defined by the NT Government as places where men gather to connect, share and learn from each other. These include initiatives like men’s healing programs, which predominantly deal with the social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island men, as well as men’s sheds, men’s groups and similar activities.
What is the background to the policy?
The Men's Policy has been developed by the Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities and supports The Northern Territory Gender Equality Action Plan 2022-25.
The Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities oversees the Office of Gender Equity and Diversity.
At a political level, the Gender Equality policy was launched by Lauren Moss MLA as Minister for Women and Assistant Minister for Men's Policy, Mr Lawrence Costa who sadly passed away in December 2022.
Since May 2022, Ms Moss's role was changed to Minister for Equality and Inclusion and she is responsible for the Men's Places Policy and Program, which she launched in November 2022.
In general, Gender Equality policies tend to focus on issues that impact women and girls and position men as allies whose role is champions of gender equality for women.
In contrast, the NT Gender Equality policy aims to support initiatives, processes and practices that drive equality for women, men and people with diverse gender identities.
Alexander Storey, Dilli Binadi and Anthony Ah Mat (Men’s Places Engagement Officer) from Territory Families, Housing and Communities at the International Men’s Day Forum held in Darwin on 18 November 2022 where Minister for Equality and Inclusion, Hon Lauren Moss MLA, launched the Men’s Places Policy and Program.
While the majority of activities identified in the Gender Equality Action Plan EW focused on women and girls, men and boys are identified as beneficiaries of some key activities. In particular, there is a recognition of the need to promote better health, mental health and social connection in men and boys.
Crucially, the Men’s Places Policy and Program was developed through consultations with various groups and places where men gather to connect, share and learn from each other.
Is this approach unique to the NT?
To the best of our knowledge, the Men’s Places Policy approach is unique to the Northern Territory.
Of the eight State and Territory governments in Australia, only two have men’s health policies:
Strictly speaking, the NT Men's Policy is not a men's health strategy and isn't overseen by the Minister for Health or NT Health. It is designed to support the NT’s approach to gender equality and has a strong focus on building the capacity of community-based men’s groups.
However, many of the potential activities identified within NT Men’s Policy can be viewed as working to address some of the social determinants of men’s health.
What is the aim of the policy?
The NT Gender Equality policy aims to improve the lives of all Territorians, including men and boys. With this in mind, the Men’s Places Policy and Program has three key aims:
1. To support the establishment and delivery of programs and activities through men’s places
2. To support the establishment of a Men’s Places Network to connect men's groups across the NT
3. Guide the delivery of the Men's Place Grants Program
What principles guide the policy?
The Men's Places Policy is underpinned by three key principles:
- The program will fund activities and programs that are community-led and community developed and designed to meet the needs of the community
- The program will support social connections, peer support, education and skills development and positive health and wellbeing for men and boys
- The program will promote positive male role models and the positive contributions men can make to their community and for their families
How does the Policy support gender equality?
The Northern Territory Gender Equality Action Plan 2022-2025 has five areas of focus:
- Community Engagement
- Economic Security
Some examples of activities that could be funded within these focus areas through the Men’s Places Policy include:
- Community Engagement: Creating opportunities for social connections for men in their communities and increasing access to men's places and other services.
- Health: Increasing access to men's health and wellbeing information and promoting active and healthy lifestyles
- Safety: Delivering violence prevention messaging and activities, promoting respectful relationships and challenging gender behaviours that can cause harm
- Economic Security: Providing men with the opportunity to develop skills, knowledge, financial literacy and resilience
- Leadership: encouraging civic engagement, volunteering and participation in community activities
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