Nov 24

Time to Men-Up!

Why Supporting Men is Good News

Men are notoriously poor communicators. Most would prefer to self-amputate a limb rather than share personal thoughts or concerns. All of which may help to explain sky high rates of male suicide and gender inequalities within the family law system.

But last week in Toronto something happened which could start to change things for men.

It was the inaugural opening of the Canadian Centre for Men and Families. Both Director Justin Trottier and I were guests, on the Roy Green program on the Corus Network this past weekend.

As Justin explained to Roy, the fundamental purpose of the Centre is to promote “changing attitudes towards masculinity” and “foster public conversations about gender” by providing support and resources to men.

Notwithstanding, some women’s groups and individuals have questioned the need and relevance of the Centre. I suspect because of concerns that the Centre will adopt extremist views targeting or denigrating women.

But that certainly is not the objective or the message that I heard from Justin. He stressed the collaborative and inclusive nature of the support involving both men and women.

As a long time family law practitioner, I have never believed in defining myself as either a man’s lawyer or a woman’s lawyer. Representing both genders gives me a unique perspective which I think only helps me to do a better job of representing each gender.

While some progress has been made toward gender equality in family law there is much more that needs to be done!

We have national standards and guidelines which mandate spousal and child support. Yet we have no national standards or guidelines affecting our most valuable national asset, namely the parenting of our children.

If we did, such standards would promote the fundamental principle that children need and deserve the equal care and attention of two loving and responsible parents in their lives.

If the Centre can provide the support men need to be the best parent that they can be to their children, the children will be the ultimate beneficiary. After all, you never stop being a parent just because of separation or divorce.

And when our children succeed, so do we all!