Raising awareness on International Men's Day
Date: 19th Nov 2019
Vice-Chancellor Professor Nick Braisby gives his views on International Men's Day.
"I believe in the value of support for all of our students and staff and so I am very pleased this year to be helping to raise awareness of International Men’s Day. The day gives us a chance to celebrate the positive value men bring to the world, their families and communities.
"From an early age, I drew inspiration from the male role models around me –my father especially, and my uncles. My father drove a tank on to Sword Beach during D-Day, and my uncles fought in the far East, both being imprisoned after the fall of Singapore.
"They were all lucky enough to return home and though the war took its toll, they went on to live full, rich and rewarding lives. When I face challenge, I often reflect on how they would have responded, and try to draw strength from the resilience they showed.
"International Men’s Day recognises all of the contributions made by men, no matter how big or small the challenges they face. Yet challenge affects us all differently.
"We know, for example, that in the UK and Europe the male suicide rate is three to four times higher than that for females. Research suggest men are less inclined to disclose mental health issues or access psychological therapies.
"Men make up the majority of the prison population. The group with one of the poorest educational outcomes is white, working class boys. Here at the University, among our student population, we know BAME males do less well than other groups.
"So, for me, International Men’s Day, gives us all an opportunity to reflect on the challenges men face, and invites us to question whether we can do more to help. You can join in this week as, in Beats and Pulse cafes, the Students’ Union is inviting people to post their male role models. If you think a male colleague needs help, you could reach out, encouraging them to seek help should they need it.
"Above all, International Men’s Day reminds me of how our University community derives strength from its diversity, and of how important it is to reach out to others to ensure we offer what support we can.
"As well as the contribution of men, it is a Day that reminds me just as much of the need to continue our work to reduce the gender pay gap; to close attainment gaps for our BAME students; and to create a climate in higher education which enables all people to flourish. Recently, I have been invited to join the Universities UK advisory group on tackling racial harassment.
"The group will be considering the recommendations from a recent report into racial harassment from the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
"Prompted by International Men’s Day, I will also make sure the group appropriately considers the interaction between race and gender, so that the recommendations leave no one behind."