men, masculinities and gender politics


Norwegian Ministry of Children and Equality

Men, Male Roles, and Gender Equality - Norway White Paper (2009)

Gender equality has long been synonymous with women and their struggle for economic independence, equal pay, and equal power. It has also been a key principle in eliminating oppression and violence.

However, gender equality is about both men and women. Men spend less time together with their own children, are more prone to accidents, are over-represented in crime statistics, and drop out more often from upper secondary education. These examples indicate that men would have much to gain from true gender equality. Men are under-represented in the teaching professions in preschools and schools, in nursing and children's social services. At the same time, men still sit in the majority of positions of power in society and they still make more money than women. It is mainly men who are the perpetrators of domestic violence.

In recent years there have been positive changes in the role of males in society. It has been almost 20 years since the Committee on Male Roles in 1991 presented its recommendations. The Committee on Male Roles pointed out the following goals: the reallocation of power between women and men, more time for fathers to care for their own children both before and after a family breakup, reduced gender differences in choice of education and training and the prevention of men's violence against women; all of these were to be central goals for the future work towards gender equality. In several areas the development in the period has been positive. In particular, there is reason to look at the development in the home, and the increased contact between fathers and their children. In other areas, however, the development has been stagnant or negative. While women have entered previous male arenas in the working life, there has not been any increase in employment of men in the health and care giving sectors. In the education sector men constitute a smaller group today than 15 years ago. Consequently, there is reason to reiterate the goals stated by the committee.