Men and the Women's Campaign
The Women's Campaign is currently an organisation for women: we do not believe our society is yet at the point where women-only spaces are unnecessary. We are dedicated to this element of autonomy; in a society in which women are woefully underrepresented in most leadership positions, women often experience fewer opportunities and fewer women role models in leadership. Allowing women to participate in a space free from unequal gender dynamics is an experience which many women never experience, but most who do find it extremely empowering. It is not about segregation or "not wanting to face the real world"; rather, it's about creating a space in which women feel safe and empowered, and where they can foster the confidence, tools and relationships which they can then use in a mixed sex environment.
However, despite the weight we place on women only spaces, we feel that it is important that men who want to be involved in the women's campaign are able to do so. Men are invited to come to most University-wide Women's Campaign events and, importantly, one of the things that Cambridge is lacking is a Pro-feminist Men's Discussion Group. Issues that they could discuss include:
- issues with masculinities,
- feelings of guilt about male privilege,
- being uncertain as to how best support the women's movement,
- issues around insuffcient paternity leave meaning that men can't be as involved in raising their children as they would like to be,
- the issues that men who choose to be homemakers can be stigmatized or ridiculed
- issues around fostering postive relationships with women because of how traditionally masculine habits of speech and behaviour tend to disempower women.
Read this article by Catherine Redfern on how men can fit into the Women's Campaign. As Catherine Redfern points out, it is certainly true that sexism hurts men too. If you would be interested in setting up a Pro-Feminist Men's Discussion Group, send the Women's Officer an email and she can give you the tools to start!