Gathering Place
Gerald Nakata

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

We need a commission
on status of men, boys

I am upset that there's a "Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women" to ensure equality for women and girls, while equality for men and boys is ignored.

This commission supports "Women's Health Month" every September. Organizations such as this complain that women's health concerns receive only 10 percent of all health research funds, but don't mention that research on men's health issues receives only 5 percent. So, as millions of extra tax dollars are given for women's health and education, men's health concerns are ignored. For example, millions are spent on breast cancer research in the United States, but not a cent was spent to determine if a procedure developed in the 1920s for prostate enlargement was beneficial. Meanwhile, scientists in Canada have done valuable research on this procedure.

Another item often heard in the media is that girls are behind boys in math and science, so programs and special training of teachers resulted. What is ignored is that girls are behind in math by only 5 points and science 8 points, a gap that has significantly closed since 1960. Boys are behind girls in reading, writing, social studies, spelling, biology, art, music and language in double-digit figures, and this gap has widened, so you would think that boys and young men would receive extra assistance from the government. Instead, more money is given to women and girls.

Recent articles in Honolulu's newspapers reported the YWCA of Oahu's "Camp $tart-up" and the National Coalition of Girls' Schools "Money $ense for Girls" are programs offered only to girls. There is no equivalent program offered to boys.

More scholarships are offered only to women to the point where nationally women dominate college campuses 60 percent to 65 percent over men. Men from low-income families had only two other avenues to go to college, military and sports scholarships, but because Title IX cut more than 20,000 men's athletic positions in the past 10 years, affecting mostly minority men, now boys and young men from low-income families either have to risk their lives in the military to go to college, or not go at all, resulting in more young men unemployed and going to prison.

Men dominate the Honolulu Fire Department, so a special workshop is created to encourage women to join ("Fire department recruiting women," Star-Bulletin, May 28). Women dominate the teaching and nursing fields. Both of these fields are in dire need of recruitment, but no special outreach program exists to encourage boys to pursue these careers, or any other.

We desperately need a commission on the status of men and boys. Women's and girls' concerns are so widely publicized that society assumes that men's and boys' concerns do not exist.

Gerald Nakata lives in Kapolei.

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