Are South African men at the receiving end of an unevenly applied human rights paradigm?

Category : PACSA news

Are South African men at the receiving end of an unevenly applied human rights paradigm?

In certain sections of our society and amongst certain men’s movements it is common to put the blame for unemployment amongst men and other issues on the ‘equal rights’ our constitution grant men and women. In order to open a conversation on this issue the uMphithi Men’s Network conducted a reflection session with 34 men in the Mkhambathini area on the 22nd of March 2015.

In certain sections of our society and amongst certain men’s movements it is common to put the blame for unemployment amongst men and other issues on the ‘equal rights’ our constitution grant men and women. In order to open a conversation on this issue the uMphithi Men’s Network conducted a reflection session with 34 men in the Mkhambathini area on the 22nd of March 2015. The reflection session heard stories on how the state is perceived to side with women against men. One man stood up and said, “My wife and children kicked me out of my house because I am unemployed. When I reported the case to police, they said I allow my wife to be superior and I am no man, I should man up and go back home to discuss it with her and show her who the man is!” He said he couldn’t do it because he knew what they mean, beat her.”
The reflection session provided space to interrogate the question of whether the marginalisation those men feel is the result of ‘women’s empowerment’ or whether it is part of systemic injustice affecting both men and women. One participant concluded that “there can be no rights for women or men if there is no justice”. Another came to the insight that gender equity is not reverse discrimination but rather a process of creating right relationships of power between men and women.


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