Ditch the Alpha Male
Woman's Hour today was devoted to a discussion on what has been achieved for gender equality in the noughties. I went along to give a male perspective and you can listen again here. I think gender equality is, in the end, about everyone being able to lead their life in their own way, free from assumptions about what people 'like them' should do. This does not mean that women should 'toughen up' and become more macho than men in the boardroom, or that men should allow themselves to feel victiminised by the changes in the roles of men and women. We all have an interest in creating a social and economic climate in which we can care, work and love in our own way, and in different ways at different times.
This is why feminism is men's work too. We can only get equality for women in economic and professional life if we get more equality in childcare, eldercare and domestic labour. Given the rise in life expectancy, we can in fact 'have it all' - career, kids, friends, good relationships, voluntary work - and a full life includes all of these things. Right now, too many men remain stuck with an outdated, breadwinner-based model of masculinity. Until we break this tyrannical custom, men will continue to lead half-lives. And as the American writer Floyd Dell pointed out nine decades ago, 'any half, when it comes to life, is very near to none at all'.