Contact: Bob Thompson

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Norway Broadens ‘Gender Equality’ Debate to Address Disparities Facing Men and Boys

May 13, 2024 – The Norwegian Men’s Equality Commission recently released a comprehensive report on achieving gender equality for men. Titled “Equality’s Next Step,” the report expands the traditional narrative to also address the concerns of men and boys (1).

The report documents the disparities affecting Norwegian men and boys across a wide range of areas, including education, health, work, and social isolation. The Commission has demonstrated that gender equality is not a zero-sum game, where progress for one gender comes at the expense of the other. “Many boys and men do not feel that equality is about them, or exists for them,” the report reveals. “Greater attention to boys’ and men’s equality challenges will strengthen equality policy, not weaken it.”

Following are some of the report’s findings:

  • In Norwegian elementary schools, 70% of students at the bottom academic performance levels are boys, while girls dominate the top levels.
  • Men in Norway have a life expectancy five years shorter than women, with the class gap in life expectancy between low and affluent-income men reaching 14 years.
  • 97% of all workplace fatalities in Norway between 2015 and 2019 were men.

The Commission’s recommendations include equal paid parental leave, flexible school start ages to address developmental differences between the sexes, and a national initiative to recruit more men into healthcare, education, and social care professions.

Commentator Richard Reeves notes, “I think the work of the Commission has significance well beyond Norway. There are policymakers around the world trying to figure out how best to begin to approach the glaring, growing problems of boys and men. Now they have a blueprint.” (2)

Indeed, other national governments already have established initiatives to address areas of male disadvantage:

  1. Denmark: Danish Minister for Equality Marie Bjerre announced the decision last May to assure equal support to male victims of domestic violence (3).
  2. Canada: The Public Health Agency compiled a listing of resources for male victims of domestic violence (4).
  3. United Kingdom: Last November MP Maria Caulfield announced the appointment of a Men’s Health Ambassador and an additional 16 million pounds of funding for prostate screening programs (5).

Mexico and the United States also have established councils to address fatherhood and related issues (6). Many other governmental entities currently are considering proposals to establish such councils (7). Norway’s commission is the first comprehensive national effort to examine gender disparities impacting men and boys.

The International Council for Men and Boys encourages lawmakers and policymakers to consider establishing dedicated commissions, ministries, and other similar entities to address the many disparities affecting men and boys worldwide (8).

The International Council for Men and Boys is a non-governmental organization that is working to end the 12 sex disparities that affect men and boys around the world.