TWO of the most insidious, yet often hidden, scourges of modern Australian society are linked.
One, gender inequality between men and women, is recognised as a key driver of male violence in the home; the second, male suicide, can result from the pressure exerted on men to follow outdated stereotypes of masculinity leading to anxiety, depression and risky drinking.
The two issues are central to Mornington Peninsula Shire’s long-standing commitment to addressing the gender drivers of violence against women and their children through its Gender Equality Strategy 2020-30.
The strategy also supports efforts to promote women’s independence and decision-making, questions gender stereotypes and roles in both sexes, and promotes positive, equal and respectful relationships.
An aligned project, Men and Boys Making It Happen on the Mornington Peninsula, last week received $120,000 from VicHealth over two years.
The project aims to encourage healthier attitudes towards masculinity contributing to advancing gender equality and improving the health and wellbeing of men, boys and the broader peninsula community.
The project will follow the findings of the Jesuit Social Services’ study The Man Box which looked at what it was like being a young man in Australia.
The study focused on a survey of a representative sample of 1000 young men aged 18-30 from across the country, as well as focus group discussions with two groups of young men, on their attitudes to manhood and male behaviours.
It found that pressure to be a “real man” and, to follow outdated stereotypes of masculinity, was contributing to anxiety, depression, risky drinking and, consequentially, violence against women and potential suicides.
Services provider Family Life will join Mornington Peninsula Shire and Jesuit Social Services to deliver training and education sessions to peninsula men and boys with the aim of “challenging unhealthy masculinities and breaking the stigma around men’s mental health”.
The project is in the initial planning phase with no set dates set, but updates will be posted on the shire’s website as it progresses into awareness raising, engagement and education activities.
For more information about the project contact community change manager at Family Life Jodie Belyea at firstname.lastname@example.org