Addressing a meeting of MPs and staff in Parliament last week on child poverty, Professor Jonathan Boston noticed that he was the only man in the room. Boston is co-chairman of the Children’s Commissioner’s advisory group on solutions to child poverty.
The NZHerald article Men called to step up for kids, accuses men of “leaving it to the womenfolk”, “not stepping up and taking enough of a role in bringing up their own kids”, and being “deadbeat dads”.
Boston notes a significant gender divide in the level of male and female leadership and involvement in addressing child poverty and deprivation, and issues a challenge:
“Men need to step up and take responsibility for these issues, along with women.”
Fortunately reporter Geraldine Johns was onto it enough to speak to economist and social researcher Dr Paul Callister, who points out that men tend to engage with child welfare in practical ways, such as joining Big Buddy, Rotary and Lions, or becoming sports coaches.
Callister also raises the professionalisation of morality, noting that all the women at the meeting would have been on a salary.
“They’re in relatively good jobs … people can be very concerned about child poverty – but that’s their job.”