This article is in response to an article that appeared on Huffington Post that graded President Obama on women’s issues. I thought it was only fair to also have one for men. Many of the categories and even some of the wording come directly from that article.
Here we go.
1. White House Council on Women and Girls A
White House Council on Boys and Men Fail
Women have good reason to be grateful to the Obama administration. President Obama created a White House Council on Women and Girls that made women’s issues an integral part of every level of the federal government. Now each department must address their progress or lack of progress as it relates to women and their issues. This is a powerful and glorious step for women and girls. However, the Obama administration has failed miserably in creating a similar opportunity for boys and men. A group of over 30 nationally known scholars, authors, researchers, and clinicians gathered to write a proposal urging the White House to offer the same sort of opportunity for our boys and men but after meetings with White House Staff and numerous officials it has been ignored at every level. President Obama met with one of those thirty and refused to even have the issue on the agenda for their meeting. Fail
2. Equal Pay: Fail
Here’s the bottom line: the Obama administration failed men and women on equal pay. He is a president who entered office with the claimed intention of using science as a guide in his administration and his policy. Even a brief look at the science surrounding the issue of equal pay would indicate that the discriminatory nature of what is being called the “wage gap” is truly a myth. The government science and statistics drive this point home but this administration not only refuses to accept its own science, it makes public statements that defy its own facts. Fail
Warren Farrell’s Why Men Earn More
3. Sexual Violence Against Women and Girls: A
Sexual Violence Against Men and Boys: Fail
The Obama administration gets major cred for taking on the escalating crisis of violence against teenage and college women. However it fails in an epic manner when it comes to teenage and college boys and men for whom it has done nothing. The CDC’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2010 Summary Report states clearly that in the last 12 months 2,747,000 women have experienced sexual violence other than rape. Importantly the same report shows that there were even more men who experienced sexual violence (2,793,000) in the last 12 months other than rape. http://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/pdf/NISVS_Report2010-a.pdf (tables 4.5 and 4.6) The science shows that men and boys are a major part of the victims of sexual violence but the policy focuses only on helping women. Fail
4. Violence Against Women A
Violence Against Men Fail
Obama and Biden have also voiced support for the reauthorization of the VAWA. (Violence Against Women Act) This bill has been shown repeatedly by credible research to ignore a large portion of victims and perpetrators. It serves female victims but ignores and even shames males who are victimized (see table 3) and also ignores female perpetrators. The bill is by name, only interested in helping women and it functions in a similar manner. Men in need are ignored. Both President Obama and VP Biden took part in a television commercial asking men to curb violence against women. This would be fine if they also were part of a commercial asking women to curb violence against men. They did no such thing. Fail
5. Reproductive Rights for Men: Fail
President Obama mentions the issues of women’s reproductive rights on a regular basis. This is good, however, he continues to ignore the fact that men have no reproductive rights whatsoever. How many men have had to stand powerless as their child is aborted against their will? Women are allowed to obtain an abortion, give up the child for adoption, have the child, or even drop the infant off at a police station.They have the right to do all of the above while men must go along with whatever the woman decides and have no rights of their own other than having to pay child support. Fail
6. Jobs: D+
When it came time to offer funds and support for those seeking employment during the crisis of our economic downturn the president had a “shovel ready” plan in place. The feminine sections complained greatly and even though this has been known to be a “mancession” the president altered his shovel ready plans and spent a good deal of the money on jobs for women, 42% of the money went to female jobs even though women were only 20% of those impacted.
7. Fatherhood: Fail
There are millions of men in the United States who have suffered under the weight of a biased family court system. One would expect our president to have some words of support for these men. However, President Obama on Father’s Day calls out fathers and says, “Too many fathers are awol. “ “They have abandoned their responsibilities and are acting like boys instead of men.” His Fathers Day speeches have been littered with this sort of verbiage about how fathers need to step up to the plate. His main idea is not to celebrate the fathers and their many contributions in our lives but to point towards those who need to improve. Happy Father’s Day. Imagine he did something similar on Mothers Day and told mothers they need to step up to the plate and stop abusing their children. All hell would break loose. Fail
8. Health Care Fail
This administration has web pages for girls health girlshealth.gov and women’s health womenshealth.gov but none for boys or men. When you go to boyshealth.gov or menshealth.gov you get a “404” file not found error. (try them and see for yourself) There is no government sponsored page for boys or for men. This is an insult to boys and men and shows how this administration is simply not interested in helping men and boys but is very active in doing everything it can to be of help to women and girls. Have a look at this government page that lists the preventive care that is included in Obama’s national health package. Plenty of preventive care for women and children but not a thing about prostate cancer, testicular cancer, or other male specific diseases.
Is there any sort of national program to help suicidal males? No. Men and boys are nearly 80% of completed suicides and yet there is no interest in working on this crisis. Fail
The above shows a clearly womanitarian stance that considers women and children first and ignores the needs of men. Clearly it is a failed report card for this administration. It is worth pointing out that they are not alone or unique. The fact is that for decades our government has ignored the pain and needs of its men and boys. This is not a new phenomenon. What we need is a president who is truly humanitarian and able to see both sides and offer love and support for all people, not just for select groups. I don’t see Obama’s opponent as being a solution. He too, if elected, will likely carry on the same misandry. It is going to take a very strong shift in our cultural thinking in order to even make a dent in the unfairness and bigotry that is now accepted by nearly everyone.
Tom Golden is the author or three books, Swallowed by a Snake: The Gift of the Masculine Side of Healing, The Way Men Heal, and Helping Mothers be Closer to Their Sons: UnderStanding the Unique World of Boys. Tom was the creator of the youtube channel Men Are Good and served as the vice chairman of the Maryland Commission for Men’s Health. He has been a therapist in private practice for over 30 years.