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By Spencer M. Austin

While the gender equality movement has made substantial progress, much work is still left to do. This situation must be dealt with and the key to success lies with men; they must realize it is time to embrace change. The gender equality movement needs support from men if it is going to achieve its goals.

Gender equality is one of the great challenges of our time. During the 20th century, immense progress was achieved. In the United States, women obtained the rights to vote, hold public office, enter the workforce, and even join the military. These changes amount to “a monumental, revolutionary transformation of the lives of more than half the population,” according to the sociologist Michael S. Kimmel.

Regardless, women still suffer from discrimination, harassment, and victimization throughout the world. Moreover, the push for gender equality appears to have stagnated. Kimmel suggest that inadequate support from men is the cause, arguing that, “the single greatest obstacle to women’s equality is the behaviors and attitudes of men.”

There are hopes that this will soon change. Last September, the United Nations launched HeForShe, a solidarity campaign that seeks to promote men’s support for gender equality. It has been a remarkable success, resulting in 1.2 billion social media conversations. In addition, over 200,000 men and boys have signed HeForShe’s pledge in which they “commit to take action against all forms of violence and discrimination faced by women and girls.” This is a tremendous step forward in the fight for equality.

However, some groups express frustration at the gender equality movement’s focus on women’s issues. Men’s rights activists argue that this focus detracts from issues of men’s equality. These include the underreporting of male rape victims and domestic violence cases, discrimination against men in child custody cases, the harmful effects of gender roles, and other issues.

Although men’s rights activists raise valid points, women’s advocacy groups are already addressing most of their legitimate concerns. These groups argue that gender inequality is a problem that affects everyone, but is more oppressive to women and therefore their issues need greater attention. Additionally, these men’s groups often attract a radical following and their online forums are frequently filled with misogynistic and hateful language.

It is clear that men need to be more involved in the fight for gender equality. Much can be done to support this effort. First, solidarity movements like HeForShe need to be encouraged. Additionally, male advocates can build awareness by discussing the need for gender equality with other men. Most importantly, men need to ask the women in their lives about they issues they face to gain a greater appreciation for women’s struggles. These solutions will increase men’s support for gender equality and help to end an age-old problem.

Gender inequality is a serious issue that men must help solve. The gender equality movement needs men’s support. Men need to recognize the significant role they play in making change. Now is the time to achieve true equality and men must do their part.

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