Working with Men
The impact of the recent economic reshuffle and increasing unemployment has been evident in migration trends, farmer suicides, and general suicide trends. In an analysis of causes of suicides in Maharashtra, we find that unemployment, sudden change in economic situation and poverty are almost exclusive to men, as reasons for committing suicide (Sakal, June 2005). It is also known that in response to shifting challenges Violence against women increases. Violence on women is both changing in nature and growing in proportion.
Tathapi calls for an analysis of the larger socio-political and economic canvass to understand how patriarchy, caste and class play out, its interlinkages and manifestations.
Women do carry larger health morbidity than men. Much of this situation is due to the existing gender relations and power structure in society today. Images of masculinity are linked to being strong and violent, and to notions that men with 'power' are 'real men'. 'Vigour' and 'performanace' are known to be central to prevailing notions of maleness.
Thus, this determines the health of men and women in different ways. These range from the distribution of food within the household, to men's addictions, and health seeking behaviors. Inaccurate information and ignorance also proves to be a major barrier to good health. While men many 'gain' from issues such as distribution of household resources, and higher employment wages, they also stand to loose with typically 'male' behaviors. Women are additionally burdened by the consequences of such behaviors directly in terms of their own health, particularly reproductive health, but also by reduced resources available for family, burdened by care of male family members etc.
Since March 2000 we have initiated many discussions and a pilot programme to work with men in Maharashtra.
The work has been supported by UNAIDS and HIVOS.