Women’s Day speaker to promote gender equality

| 07/03/2017
CNS Local Life

Dr Jackson Katz

(CNS Local Life): The first man to ever minor in women’s studies at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst will deliver the keynote address at this year’s International Women’s Day celebration, set for Wednesday, 8 March. Dr Jackson Katz will speak on “Gender on the Agenda: Why equality between the sexes is a critical issue for women and men.”

He suggests that gender equality is one of the biggest unmet goals of the human species, and that many societal ills, including income disparity, climate change and economic development, stem from not fully addressing the problem. His work honours women’s leadership in these areas as well as challenging men to do more.

The American educator, author, and activist is, in his own words, one of the architects of what is now widely known as the bystander approach to combatting gender violence. Dr Katz has developed bystander programmes that have been adopted in several school districts, university campuses and workplaces across the US.

This stance advocates that male friends, relatives and co-workers take a robust stand in challenging the male perpetrators of acts of gender inequity such as domestic violence, sexual harassment and rape.

“Traditionally, it’s been the victims of gender violence who have been singled out for unwelcome attention, in terms of their behaviour, dress and demeanour, instead of those committing such acts,” he said.

“The bystander approach empowers men with the responsibility of not only understanding that their silence is a form of tacit consent but taking the lead in personally challenging gender harassment and violence in their peers.

“It speaks not just to men who know ‘perpetrators’ but men and young men who are part of peer cultures where sexist attitudes and beliefs are generated and sustained.”

The call for direct action by the perpetrators’ peers demands males counter the “failure of leadership in tackling such issues”.

“Men share a fundamental responsibility to challenge societal norms and existing structures. It’s not a debatable point,” he said. “They need to reinforce their opposition to patriarchal control. This is as much a men’s issue as a women’s issue.”

While acknowledging that overcoming gender inequality must be fought on many levels, his research suggests that one way to help is by recognising the influence of coaches in forming and validating young male behaviours. He suggests training coaches to espouse a progressive approach through “Mentors in Violence Prevention” programmes.

“[Young men] can spend more time with their coaches than their fathers and so have a significant platform of influence they can use to broach such issues head on,” Dr Katz said.

“We need to redefine what it means to be a strong man in the 21st century. Such definitions should include having the moral courage to stand up for justice and define strength more broadly to being strong in supporting and helping victims of gender violence and racism,” he said.

Dr Katz’s keynote talk will be followed by a question-and-answer session.

The International Women’s Day celebration, hosted by the Department of Counselling Services, will take place at the Marriott Beach Resort, starting with a  reception from 5:30pm to 6:30pm, immediately followed by the main event, which runs until 8:30pm. General admission is free, with tickets available from the Family Resource Centre. VIP tickets are $25 and include hors d’oeuvres, refreshments and special seating.

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Comments (4)

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  1. jdcinsf says:

    This guy is so bigoted on gender that I laugh at him. Men have been paying for everything women need since time began and now that women are free he wants men to continue to do more? We have EQUALITY. Every person for themselves and may the best person win.

  2. Karen says:

    Unfortunately I can’t read the article as I haven’t stopped laughing since reading: “The first man to ever minor in women’s studies”. I can’t decide whether this sounds like a disability or whether it means that he has been healed from the disability he was previously suffering from since his birth. It seems to me that he needed some sort of certificate before he could talk to women. Like a dog who get a tetanus injection. This one is now safe to interact with. He has been cleansed from his toxic masculinity ….. 😀 😀 😀

  3. Sorry to inform you that there are two genders and both suffer from DV… In fact DV is not a gendered issue yet a generational problem

  4. Anonymous says:

    what a joke… this guy is basically advocating for men to suffer abuse… all academic statistics show that women are more mentally, verbally and PHYSICALLY abusive in relationships. ALL !!! what a complete and utter disgust.