Blog posts

Are dads still being Mackintoshed?

The following post was was contributed by Bettina Arndt:

Here’s some rare good news about our Family Court system. Fewer dads with very young children are being denied overnight care of their infants and toddlers.

That’s a very big deal because up to three years ago most fathers lost out when they went to court seeking any overnight care. Lawyers used to joke they’d been “McIntoshed”  – a reference to Jennifer McIntosh, the woman whose one study  led to fathers all over the world missing out on those precious early years of fathering their children.

Jennifer McIntosh is a Victorian psychologist who was the lead author in a hugely influential study which concluded that any regular overnight care by fathers was damaging to infants and toddlers. McIntosh promoted this position across the world – men’s groups in Israel threatened to sue her after she campaigned in their country against shared parenting.

Then came the game-changer. In 2014 Richard Warshak, a psychiatry professor who’s also  an international authority on parental alienation, brought together 110 leading international experts who signed a consensus report which concluded the McIntosh position was deeply flawed, with the researchers shown to have cherry-picked and exaggerated their results to draw “unwarranted conclusions from the data.”

The consensus report provided solid research evidence that in normal circumstances children are likely to do better if they have regular overnight contact with both parents and that depriving young children of overnights with their fathers could compromise the quality of developing father-child relationships.

Another important paper was published at much the same time by Wake Forest professor of adolescent and educational psychology Linda Nielsen who used the McIntosh study as an example of what she called “woozling” –the process of misrepresenting and disseminating data in ways that mislead the public and policy makers. Her 17 page critique exposed the many flaws in the McIntosh study and concluded it should never have been used to influence courts nor drive social policy.

I wrote about all this at the time – my article in The Age finally appeared after numerous legal threats from McIntosh. After publication I heard from fathers all over Australia who’d been McIntoshed and often struggled to establish meaningful relationships with their children after years of virtually being excluded from their lives.

I talked to one man, a Sydney academic who’d been the principal carer for their infant for much of the first year after marital separation due to his wife’s work commitments. Then his ex-mother-in-law arrived in Australia and suddenly he found himself in court fighting for any overnight care. He was McIntoshed and denied any overnights for years of his young child’s life.

The stories were just extraordinary and the whole situation quite farcical because everyone knew many of these mothers were allowing all sorts of people to care for their children overnight – from babysitters, to relatives or even highly unsuitable boyfriends. The only person being denied this role was the father.

The Warshak Report was translated into 18 languages and changed the way courts across the world now deal with such custody matters – in countries including the UK, Canada, Israel, Finland, Romania, Croatia, and Sweden. It’s shocking how influential McIntosh’s mischief had been up to that time.

Finally even McIntosh changed her position, after being influenced by persuasive colleagues to agree to a slightly more nuanced approach. Of course she now claims she never promoted a ban on all overnights for pre-schoolers – yet there’s plenty of written documentation contradicting that statement.

In a discussion paper for the Australian Association for Infant Mental Health (AAIMH) in 2011, McIntosh wrote that: “Regardless of socio-economic background, parenting warmth or cooperation between parents, the shared overnight care of children less than four years of age had a significantly negative impact on the emotional and behavioural well-being of the child. Babies under two years who lived one or more overnights a week with both parents were significantly stressed.”

The same year she also wrote a guest editorial for The Family Court Review which included the following summary: “Repeated overnight stays away from the primary caregiver in the first year or two may strain the infant and disrupt formation of secure attachment with both parents. Overnight stays away from the primary caregiver in early infancy are generally best avoided unless of benefit to the primary caregiver.”

Hopefully such dangerous nonsense is no longer party line in our Family Court system.

Judges and lawyers now tell me that reasonable dads usually are being given some overnight care even with infants, and there are signs that the number of nights now tends to increase more rapidly. It would be great to hear from dads, family lawyers and others with recent experience in the family law system as to whether that’s actually the case.

Of course there are still the Mummy judges sticking firmly to the McIntosh line, allowing dads only daytime contact with pre-schoolers – which is particularly shocking given that research continues to be published showing the importance of both parents being actively involved in children’s lives from a very young age.

So please send me your comments and stories (bettina@bettinaarndt.com.au). Richard Warshak is soon to publish a follow-up to his consensus report and it would be nice to have news from the coalface in Australia to add to the reporting when that comes out.

Another federal government domestic violence inquiry – This one focuses on family law

“On 16 March 2017, a Committee of the Australian Parliament adopted an inquiry into how Australia’s federal family law system can better support and protect people affected by family violence. The inquiry was referred by the Attorney-General, Senator the Hon. George Brandis Q.C. The Committee aims to make recommendations that will improve the system for all participants.” (Source)

Members of the public may provide feedback in the following ways:

  • Community statements for individuals who wish to discuss their experiences of the treatment of family violence within the family law system with the committee.
  • Public hearings to gather evidence from stakeholders, including government agencies, non-government organisations, and experts in the policy area.
  • Written submissions addressing one or more of the terms of reference to be received by Wednesday, 3 May 2017.

The Chair of the Inquiry is Sarah Henderson MP, who is interviewed here on Sky News Australia. In this interview Ms Henderson unreservedly commends the work of Rosie Batty (strike 1), as well as mentioning some of the specific issues to be addressed in the Inquiry.

One such issue was the possibility of creating some sort of nexus between the nature of court orders made in relation to spousal support and property settlement, and the presence or alleged presence of family violence in the relationship. This is described in the Terms of Reference at point 4:

“How the family law system can better support people who have been subjected to family violence recover financially, including the extent to which family violence should be taken into account in the making of property division orders”

Men are already being blackmailed with allegations of domestic violence or sexual abuse in relation to child custody matters, and now it seems they will also have to worry about the impact of such allegations on their financial affairs (strike 2). How many more male suicides will this generate?

NB: I tendered a brief submission to which I will provide a link once public submissions are uploaded to the Inquiry’s web site.

Related media articles:

Good men doing nothing‘ by Bettina Arndt (9 May 2017) with related Reddit discussion thread (see comment by ‘SantaOrange’)

Domestic Violence Inquiry To Take On The Family Law System (23 March 2017)

I don’t want no menfolk near my daughters, you hear?

“The English noun bigot is a term used to describe a prejudiced or closed-minded person, especially one who is intolerant or hostile towards different social groups (e.g. racial or religious groups), and especially one whose own beliefs are perceived as unreasonable or excessively narrow-minded, superstitious, or hypocritical.” (Source)

Thanks largely to the pervasive influence of feminism, anti-male bigotry has been accorded a level of acceptance well in excess of that applicable to other significant segments within the community. This has been reflected in an increasing number of rather biased articles in the mainstream media, examples of which can be found in the following posts:

New Zealand journalist labels men as the ultimate predators
A few observations in relation to yet another article critical of men
How tragic that feminists ignore their role in demonising men
On the issue of traveler safety
Persistent pro-feminist and anti-male bias in the mainstream media
How men are portrayed … Haw Haw Haw! The jokes on us

Today I wanted to address an article by Jane Gilmore entitled ‘Be outraged at the abuse of children, not at one mother’s efforts to protect her daughters‘ (2 March 2017). Jane’s piece focuses on an earlier article by Kasey Edwards,  ‘Why I won’t let any male babysit my children‘, and the public reaction to it.

After Kasey’s piece appeared I read three well-intended, but somewhat insipid, rebuttals. These were penned by Ben Pobjie, Melissa Hoyer, and Louise Roberts. Still, the fact that any rebuttals were published is indicative of feminism’s gradual slide from the pedestal of public opinion. A considerable amount of material also appeared on social media, most of which was critical of Kasey’s position.

Jo Abi, on the other hand, wrote an article in Mamamia supporting Kasey’s stance. Interestingly, even in that feminist forum many readers held a different view.

From an MRA perspective this was pleasing to note, the only negative being an unfortunate tendency by some to personalise the issue via referencing the potential danger posed by Kasey’s family.

Jane stepped in at that point to address those taking umbrage at what they perceived as the gender bigotry inherent in Kasey’s position. What follows now is Jane’s article (shown in italics) with my comments inserted in relevant places (and shown in blue font).

A wave of outrage broke and splattered across social media this week over an article by Daily Life columnist Kasey Edwards about the choice she and her husband have made to keep their children safe from sexual abuse. In it, Edwards pointed out the following statistics:

“…the ‘best case’ scenario is that 1 in 20 boys are sexually abused. The worst case is that 1 in three girls are.”

“Evidence overwhelmingly indicates that the majority of child sexual abuse is perpetrated by males.”

These disturbing facts should indeed provoke outrage. But they didn’t.

This is the page in the Australian Institute of Family Studies web site where Kasey sourced the statistics noted in her article (scroll down to ‘How many Australian children are sexually abused‘). The author describes the difficulties compiling these statistics and their consequent limitations. Note too the basis for the “1 in three girls” statistic mentioned in both Kasey and Jane’s articles.

Kasey’s chosen strategy does not “keep their children safe from sexual abuse”. This is because a) men aren’t responsible for every instance of sexual abuse, and b) her daughters would still have contact with men at other times. Remember that the definition of abuse used here does not require actual physical contact. Kasey’s approach only theoretically reduces the likelihood of sexual abuse occurring. Not all personal threats and dangers. Not even all child abuse. Sexual abuse only.

You see, sexual abuse is just one of the four types of child abuse (and in fact it’s the least common variety). Sexual abuse is the only form of child abuse wherein surveys consistently identify more male than female perpetrators (although there are still plenty of those).

No surprise then that this is the form of child abuse that feminists keep the media’s focus on. A similar thing happens in the realm of the domestic violence debate, whereby all those forms of DV other than heterosexual male-on-female violence are air-brushed out of the picture. 

Instead, the backlash was in response to Edwards’ acknowledgment that men are the most likely perpetrators, and the resulting decision she and her husband made to not have men care for their children without a woman present.

Cue articles and endless anger about how hurtful and offensive this is for men. Followed by strawman arguments about Edwards’ husband caring for their children without supervision, despite her article clearly stating this was a decision they reached together.

Likewise, suggestions that her children would miss out on male role models and have a warped view of men. (Edwards clarified on The Project this week that her daughter has a wonderful male teacher).

Writer Amy Gray, who skilfully moderated a long and mostly respectful debate on this topic, said, “The uproar over this article hasn’t been about how to combat rape culture, community enablement, lack of law or police reform, or suitable therapy or support for victims. The uproar was about protecting men from hurt feelings over being excluded from unpaid labour they rarely do. The uproar should be tackling the overwhelming male presence in sexual assault of children.

It’s hardly surprising that the focus of feedback provided by readers mirrored the narrow scope of the article. Kasey did not address the issues above, nor did she indicate that she would welcome dialogue on those issues. If Kasey expected more holistic feedback then she should have written a broader and less injudicious article.

And it’s curious that no link was provided to that “long and mostly respectful debate”. Don’t tell me it reflected poorly on team feminism?

“I want men to examine their role in this culture,” she added. “I want them to actively combat it and question men who refuse to participate in that.”

On the contrary, the volume of feedback generated by Kasey’s article clearly demonstrated men’s *insistence* in participating in the discussion whilst rejecting the demonisation of an entire gender based on the actions of a very small minority.

The real difficulty with Edwards’ article was that she outlined a single approach to preventing child abuse in her own family. But if we are talking about preventing child abuse at a community level then we need to talk about a community-wide response.

Which comes back to the perpetrators. Again, they are mostly men, and yet men are so rarely part of the discussion about prevention, other than to object to the facts being discussed.

Why is it that men are so much more likely to commit violence and abuse? What happened to those men, where did they learn this behaviour? How can they change?

Clearly there is a problem with violence in our community, and a lot of that is due to men. A very, very small minority of men. A point that seems perpetually lost on feminists. And where are all these men objecting to the “facts”? Alternatively, where are all the feminists discussing prevention with regards to issues like circumcision, the sexual assault of men & boys, male suicide, etc?

What positive outcome/s are borne from the incessant criticism of men and the manner in which they are portrayed in the mainstream media? The consistent lack of recognition for the contributions made by men in terms of the well-being of the community? The paucity of government funding support for addressing men’s health and other men’s/boys issues? The bias of the legal and justice system against men?

The active support of the feminist lobby sure wouldn’t hurt, but their pointed indifference to date is hardly encouraging.

Turning our attention now to women, which occurs all too rarely other than in relation to some issue of perceived victimhood, why are there so many violent and abusive women? (NB: trending upwards). Why is this not being acknowledged and addressed? esp. bearing in mind that they are producing the next generation of not just child abusers, but perpetrators of domestic violence generally.

Exploring this, without defensiveness and with a genuine desire to find solutions, is the most valuable way men can participate in protecting children. It’s disturbing that many men are so aggressively unwilling to do this, leaving the burden of finding solutions to everyone else.

Seriously Jane, imagine if an article appeared wherein the husband set out his strategy to prevent his sons being killed by only having male carers. The reaction from your ilk would not have been merely “defensive” – they would be livid.

And Jane, what of the many instances where people do demonstrate “a genuine desire to find solutions”, and are attacked for doing so simply because they dare propose solutions that are contrary to leftist/feminist dogma? Want examples? 

On the censorship and erasure of non-feminist perspectives and opinions
A feminist laments: “Why do so few men turn up to hear women speak?”
White Ribbon campaign to men: Stand up! Speak up! Shut up!
Domestic Violence NSW censors dissenting views (before lapsing into paranoid delusion)
Sallee McLaren must write on the blackboard “I must not challenge the feminist narrative”
Australian feminist attacks integrity of advocacy group for male victims of domestic violence (Here Jane Gilmore sabotages Australia’s only advocacy group for male victims of domestic violence, only to then criticize the men’s rights movement on the basis that it doesn’t do anything but criticize feminists)

This is why mothers are so often vilified when they do something as simple as wait outside while their children go to the toilet, and conversely, vilified again if they acknowledge the facts of child abuse and act to protect their children from possible perpetrators.

The author was not criticized for wanting to protect her children, but for making a decision of dubious efficacy in the absence of an objective and unbiased consideration of all relevant factors. 

It’s not surprising given how fraught it can be to navigate the issue that parents like Kasey Edwards and her husband look for solutions that don’t depend on community-wide protection. Their choice is not right for everyone – indeed for some, it’s very much the wrong choice. But for them, it’s the best way to keep their children safe. And given the deep, lifelong trauma caused by child abuse, it is both justifiable and understandable.

Their solution, however, only works for their circumstances. It relies on them always having options for childcare that fit within their parameters, which is not readily available to many parents.

There is no proof that this approach “works” for anyone, full stop. As to whether it’s practical for parents to even attempt, your point is taken.

It also assumes that they, their family, and their children’s friends are always in partnered, heterosexual relationships. In the Edwards’ policy, children of single fathers, or in families that do not include people who identify as women, already suffering exclusion and stigma, are excluded even further.

Even for families who do have the option to have women always present, it places an extra burden on those women, who are already taking on the majority of (unpaid) emotional and domestic caring labour. This is particularly difficult in the context of the systemic economic disadvantage women suffer, which requires men to take on an equal share of parenting. It’s a quandary that can’t be solved by making women the “abuse police”. Men have to take responsibility for prevention and commit to unambiguous action on the causes and realities of abuse.

Please, jettison the male-shaming and #HeForShe nonsense. Both men and women parent children. Both men and women abuse children. Everyone has an equal role to play in reducing the incidence of abuse.

While there are undeniable problems with the Edwards’ choice, the outraged criticisms of it are equally problematic, and frankly blind to the realities of how abuse occurs and its effect on victims.

Pot-Kettle-Black (big time)

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse released a paper this week describing the grooming practices of abusers. Grooming is not something abusers only do to victims. They also deliberately create relationships with parents and caregivers that involves trust, friendship and dependence. And they make sure their victims know about it.

Was this specific to male abusers? The paragraph that follows implies it was.

As feminist writer Cecilia Winterfox told Fairfax Media, “Every time we say, ‘but my male friends are so lovely’ we make it harder for victims to speak out. It reinforces and demonstrates clearly to them the reflexive disbelief they will almost certainly face. It’s a kind of cultural gaslighting to victims, and a signal of protection to abusers”.

And every time feminists say ‘men can’t be raped (by women)’, ‘domestic violence is men’s abuse of women’, ‘women are only violent in self-defence’, ‘men don’t suffer negative effects from domestic violence as much as women do’, etc etc etc. That also makes it more difficult for “victims to speak out” right? But that doesn’t seem to deter feminists from making these statements. More equality-when-it-suits?

The royal commission paper was specifically about institutional responses to child abuse, so the recommendations were focused on cultural change to identifying and reporting grooming techniques. Which may work in well-monitored organisations, but it’s not something any individual parent can enforce in their social group.

Deanne Carson, co-founder of Body Safety Australia says a blanket ban on men caring for children is not the solution. “We need to empower adults to be a champion for children. This means debunking myths around childhood sexual abuse, teaching them to spot grooming techniques and supporting them in being able to address concerns about any individual’s concerning behaviour.”

It also means broadening the debate beyond child sexual abuse, firstly by considering all other forms of abuse. We also need to consider related issues such as the sexualisation of children, and again, both men and women play a role in this process.

The problem with these strategies, as Carson acknowledges, is that they don’t keep all children safe, they just protect the children whose parents can implement them. And not all parents feel able to do this.

Which is why the solution needs to go back to the community and the abusers, not victims or their carers. And we can’t do that while men are still refusing to discuss the source of the problem.

As Edwards told Daily Life: “Of all the people who have told me how ridiculous and offensive I’ve been, not one of them has come up with a feasible alternative to keep children safe”. <end of article>

Jane expands her views on the matter in an item in her personal blog, asserting that Kasey’s response was understandable and should be respected:

… often the responses are emotional because there is no other way to respond to such trauma. Those emotions are real, valid, complex and demand respect.”

Jane says this even though there is no suggestion in Kasey’s article that her children had previously been subject to abuse (and I sincerely hope that is not the case). Jane then adds:

“That respect is not present when men who have never been forced to feel those emotions are simply offended by the facts.”

Cheap shot. Because men have never been subjected to abuse as children, or fathered children who have been abused by others, right? And because I didn’t notice any reader feedback wherein the “facts” (presumably the quoted abuse statistics) formed any part of that individual’s objection to the article. Seemed to me people were upset about inference, opinion, and plain old bias.

And wait a minute. The feedback on Kasey’s article that Jane found so objectionable was contributed by men and women in roughly equal measures. It’s just as valid or invalid therefore to suggest that women are also “still refusing to discuss the source of the problem“. Unless Team Feminism has bestowed honorary bloke status on the largely silent majority of women who choose to hold a non-feminist-compliant opinion.

Earlier we noted Amy Gray’s haughty dismissal of the negative reaction to Kasey’s article: “The uproar was about protecting men from hurt feelings over being excluded from unpaid labour they rarely do.”

Let’s not detour to talk about single dads, yard work and the like. Let’s pretend Amy is right and proceed on the basis that men’s feelings count for nought. As presumably then, in the interests of gender equality, so too for feminists’ feelings.

Because rest assured, men certainly do want to be a part of the solution to the scourge of child abuse, but it seems most unlikely that it will be on feminists’ terms.

See also:

Safety around dogs: Half of all kids get bitten by dogs, so don’t let one near your daughters.

Reddit discussion threads in relation to the Kasey Edwards article:(r/mensrights thread #1) (r/mensrights thread #2) & (r/australia). The latter thread also provides links to several other threads on this topic

Feminism: The demonization of males, by Stacy McCain (2 March 2017)

Gender bias and wasted opportunities at the 2017 National Family Violence Summit

Today was the second and final day of the National Family Violence Summit. The Summit was facilitated by the Tara Costigan Foundation and sponsored by BaptistCare. An extract from today’s program is shown below:

And no, in case you were wondering, there was no corresponding session to discuss what women could do to help reduce family violence.

How would this aspect of the program be interpreted by the average Joe or Josephine in-the-street? They would probably see it as implying that men were responsible for family violence, and that therefore it’s men’s duty to eradicate it.

This is the equivalent of having every man in Australia stand at the front of the classroom with a dunce’s hat on. Except the domestic violence lobby is not saying men are stupid, but that they are evil.

This is an affront to men everywhere, and it is difficult to imagine a situation where women are now smeared and disregarded in such a manner.

And this despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of men never commit acts of violence, and that male victims of domestic violence are rarely acknowledged.

Look, I understand that the basis for establishing the Tara Costigan Foundation was the tragic death of a young woman at the hands of a bestial man. That man is now in jail and sadly we cannot undo what happened to Tara. But the Summit is, or at least should be, about addressing domestic violence in its totality.

The ‘big picture’ of domestic violence comprises substantial numbers of abusive men and women, and of both male and female victims of that abuse.  There is also a considerable (yet rarely acknowledged) element of bi-directional violence, where both partners perpetuate abuse.

And what of women’s role in addressing domestic violence, not only as empowered and autonomous individuals, but also in recognition of the fact that many women are also abusive. Not only is there a long-running problem with child abuse by women, but there is also a growing problem with female violence generally. These issues are alternately either excused away (“women are only ever violent in self-defence“), minimised or ignored altogether.

The agencies that deal with domestic violence are heavily imbued with feminist doctrine. They continue to falsely portray domestic violence as heterosexual male on female violence, despite this constituting just one slice of the pizza (albeit probably the largest one). Feminist agencies address domestic violence in the context of a theoretical approach known as the Duluth Model. The validity of the Duluth Model is hotly debated, and its success is questionable.

There have been so many talk-fests and inquiries in relation to domestic violence. Almost without exception their value has been severely compromised by a failure to open the floor to all ideas, especially those contrary to feminist dogma. That appears to have also been the case with the Summit, given that none of the speakers represented a men’s rights group, a father’s group, or an advocacy group for male victims of domestic violence such as One-in-Three.

Why is this allowed to continue particularly considering the amount of public funds being expended, and the miserable progress being made?

The situation in the U.K is similar to Australia in this regard, but some progress is being made via vigorous lobbying by groups and individuals such as GenderFreeDV and Philip Davies MP.

Here is Australia we have balanced views on DV being expressed by a small but dedicated number of journalists such as Bettina Arndt, Miranda Devine, and Corrine Barraclough. As far as sitting politicians go however, there is little cause for optimism just at the moment. One outcome of this situation is that there is almost no funding provided at all for male victims of domestic violence – or indeed for addressing men’s/boys issues generally.

Please can someone finally take some real leadership on this issue?

I did not attend the Summit and await the report that is to be prepared for submission to the government. I will re-visit this post at that time and make any necessary adjustments. In the interim I stand ready to be corrected by an organiser or an attendee if what I have stated is in error. Should such a person wish to detail their experience at this event please submit a comment below.

Here are some links to related news coverage:

Rosie Batty joins 7.30 to discuss the summit on family violence (28 February 2017)

Former army chief David Morrison calls for national day for domestic violence victims (28 February 2017)

The good thing to come out of horror of Tara Costigan’s murder (1 March 2017)

 

Achieving personal financial security is important for everyone. Dodgy research helps no-one

Why slave away crafting a serious academic research paper when you can knock out an under-graduate quality effort that will still be published provided it pushes the appropriate PC buttons? One gets to bang the feminist drum to one’s heart’s content, virtue-signal across the chattering class, and pad out one’s resume all at the same time.

Anyway, accuracy, objectivity and academic rigor are so last century!

Young women can budget in the short term but struggle with long-term investments: survey’ (14 February 2017)

This unexceptional article merits its own post only by virtue of the way it exemplifies several of my concerns regarding pro-feminist research:

  • presents a non-gendered issue as gendered
  • only surveys women yet uses the results to argue a case of relative female disadvantage
  • features lamentably weak research methodology
  • only identifies contributing factors consistent with a predetermined conclusion based on feminist dogma
  • infers that men are primarily responsible for both causing and resolving the alleged situation of female disadvantage

My comments are inserted within the body of the article, and shown in blue font.

The main premise of the article is that women are significantly disadvantaged in terms of achieving financial security, and warrant special assistance in this regard. This disadvantage is said to stem mainly from a lack of awareness of investment options and strategies. In supporting this position the paper grasps at various feminist chestnuts such as the gender wage gap, the superannuation gap, and gender bias within schools and specific employment sectors.

“Our investigation into the financial literacy of young women finds they are confident in implementing budgeting and savings strategies, but lack the knowledge and confidence required to implement long-term financial strategies.”

The first thought that sprang to mind was ‘Why focus solely on young women?’, especially if the intention is to assert gender-based disadvantage. What exactly was the goal of this research project? Better understanding a problem that affects many PEOPLE with a view to identifying strategies to help those in need? Or simply opportunistically seizing on the issue of savings and investment in order to add to the chorus of ‘women have it tougher’? 

The justification for excluding men from the study is hardly compelling:

  • the average level of retirement savings for men is greater than the average for women
  • men are claimed to be, again on average, more financially literate than women.

What of the fact that many men fall below the male average, and quite likely also the female average? There would certainly be no shortage of men who “lack the knowledge and confidence required to implement long-term financial strategies“. Consider too that some women would exceed male average savings, and that this segment is sure to increase in coming years. 

Bear in mind too that men’s savings are not necessarily their own, and will more often be used to support dependents. For example, many women are financially supported in later life by current or previous male partners, whilst relatively few men are supported in such a manner. And indeed, far more men than women will have some or all of their savings confiscated via court-ordered settlements following separation or divorce.

“This is surprising given that financial literacy usually refers to not only an understanding of how money actually works and how to make and manage money for day-to-day affairs but also how to use this in preparation for the future.

While our results are preliminary, based on social media users and require more detailed research, our results begin to draw links between social, institutional and personal attitudes towards financial knowledge.

A survey we distributed across social media found that 91% of 175 respondents had confidence in their ability to implement savings strategies (varying from simple to complex), and 89% were confident in their ability to budget. Strategies included everything from planning for a holiday to managing credit cards. Participants also considered budgeting and saving to be the most important aspects of their finances.”

It appears that all the survey respondents were female – a major oversight – and were likely self-selected from within the ranks of the researchers’ friends/associates. What likely degree of survey bias did this entail? In other words, to what extent are the results meaningful even in a purely statistical sense?

However, our survey participants expressed a distinct lack of appreciation for longer-term financial goals. While 72% of respondents felt that savings were extremely relevant to them, only 38% said the same about superannuation, and they showed even less interest in other long-term investment (23%).

Knowledge and confidence in implementing long-term investment strategies were even more concerning. Only 17% of respondents said they had a “medium” knowledge of superannuation and only 1% (or two of 175 respondents) felt that they had an in-depth understanding. In contrast, 55% indicated having little or no knowledge whatsoever.

The numbers look even bleaker for responses about investments. A low 12% of survey participants had medium levels of knowledge in this area, while again only 1% felt their knowledge was in-depth.

When asked about why they lacked financial knowledge, the barrier most commonly acknowledged by participants was lack of financial information taught at school (91%). Also 55% of participants reported feeling discouraged from learning about finance because they were women. This is consistent with reports of female students being discouraged from studying subjects such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).”

Oh please! That’s a reach isn’t it? Did male students receive additional education regarding financial information at school? With no corresponding results for young men, the value of the stats provided above – in terms of supporting a gendered agenda – are dubious.

And as for the validity of measuring how people “feel” about things, I would refer you to this paper.

Why financial literacy matters for women

Women working full-time currently earn 84% of a man’s pay – at a 20 year average. The impact is this: women will earn around [A$650,000 less than men across their lifetimes].

While the pay gap is considerable, the “super gap” is even greater. On average women will accumulate 46.6% less in superannuation than men, and one in three women retire with no super at all. Superannuation is the second largest asset for most Australian households, (second only to housing) and contributes significantly to economic security and savings at retirement.

The pay gap is based on the average for all men and all women, and when analysed it becomes clear that there a significant variations in the extent of the gap (even with respect to which gender is favoured). 

Insufficient superannuation and savings at retirement have also been linked to high rates of homelessness experience by older women – a point that has been emphasised by Homelessness Australia. While there are many factors that contribute to homelessness, from drug and alcohol abuse, lack of affordable housing and domestic violence, a 2013 study by Adam Steen and David MacKenzie suggests that the little research done is this area indicates poor financial literacy is also a contributing factor.

Difference in superannuation savings between women and men are driven by interrelated factors including: the gender pay gap, more frequent participation of women in lower paid industries and jobs, disproportionate participation of women in part-time and casual positions. Also influencing this trend are the fragmented work patterns as a result of time taken off for unpaid care and pregnancy related workplace discrimination. Women also typically retire earlier and live longer than men – up to 4.4 years longer for a female born today.

These are mainly issues of personal choice. Choose different options, for example taking a job in a higher paid sectors, and the situation changes regardless of gender – as stated in the following paper (and countless others).

“A Department of Labor study released in 2009, which reviewed upwards of 50 peer-reviewed papers, concluded the wage gap, “may be almost entirely the result of individual choices being made by both male and female workers.”

“Women, more than men, show a demonstrated preference for lower risk occupations with greater workplace safety and comfort, and they are frequently willing to accept lower wages for the greater safety and reduced probability of work-related injury or death”” (Source)

In addition to these structural and social factors, our data suggests that women are ill-equipped to manage long-term financial investments.

That sounds almost sexist doesn’t it? … whilst readers can only speculate how much better-equipped men in the same cohort are, as the relevant information is omitted from the “data”.

And then there are the other factors that might have a bearing on women’s relative unwillingness or inability to commit to long-term financial plans. One of these is female hypergamy, and one of the authors responded to this suggestion in the following manner:

Do you, dear reader, consider the author’s response to be a) Objective b) Scholarly or c) Butthurt (Circle correct answer/s)

Some other possible factors are mentioned in the readers comments that follow the article, for example the relative confidence of men v women (as distinct from actual knowledge or skill). Willingness to take risk was also mentioned.

Reduced financial literacy amongst women in comparison to men was acknowledged by the Australian government in 2008 and again by the NSW Council of Social Services in 2016. Likewise it has been acknowledged in the United States and further afield. Our data suggests little has changed.

But the authors earlier asserted that homelessness was highly correlated with financial literacy, and yet there are far more homeless men than women. Would someone please explain?

I’m perfectly willing to accept that financial literacy is a significant factor, for both men and women, in achieving financial security later in life. And yes, this should be a major focus in terms of designing appropriate remedial action.

What I am not willing to accept however is:

  • Designing and providing educational programs for financial literacy that are not available to both men/boys and women/girls
  • Extending financial support or other incentives to women, but not men (as in the case, for example, of the ANZ staff Super payment mentioned in this blog post).

And more publicly-funded ‘research’ like this!

‘Diversity’: A buzzword that sounds good but is often misused

Diversity is another one of those buzzwords du jour – and apparently the cure for all that ails. Except there are a few problems.

Firstly, diversity is often not – in practice – extended to embrace many within the community. I’m thinking here, for example, of white men, non-feminists, and those with a conservative or right-of-centre political persuasion.

In this blog post for example I examined the example of a debate organised by the Diversity Council of Australia. In that example, diversity meant assembling two debating panels that represented or supported a range of feminist perspectives.

A couple of other examples are provided in these other blog posts:

A couple of queries concerning ‘Balancing the future: The Australian Public Service gender equality strategy 2016-19’

We’ve set a target of having 10% of our senior management team female by 2017

Martin Daubney in the UK has drawn attention to this July 2013 article about part-time workers in Britain, which includes the following extract:

“For years, the term “part-time” has been synonymous with junior responsibility and low pay. And yet the pool of people who want to work in this way is incredibly diverse.”

Martin points out that only 12% of those featured on the ‘Power Part-time Top 50’ list mentioned in the article are male. Not so diverse in that regard, huh?

Elsewhere Martin provides the example of the organisation ‘CMI Women’, within whose web site we see an exhortation for gender diversity which starkly contrast with their own board membership (100% female).

Secondly, those who lobby for diversity tend to want to have it imposed by way of gender or racial quotas, selective recruitment, and the like. They do so despite the fact that such measures need not result in measurable improvements to organisational performance or community harmony, and may even be counter-productive in this regard. Indeed they are not averse to exaggerating or otherwise misrepresenting the benefits of diversity.

This aspect is discussed in these blog posts and others:

Less than 50/50 representation does not automatically imply ‘gender bias’
On affirmative action and the imposition of gender quotas
About what happened in Cologne

Thirdly, those who lobby for diversity fail to acknowledge, let alone analyse and debate, the negative outcomes that arise when achieving becomes the major determining factor when adopting government policy. Indeed, if we look at what is happening in some European countries now, such as greatly increased criminal activity, there is evidence of efforts being made to suppress such information.

See also:

Opinion: Screen Australia’s sexist policies proof it is biased against men, by Mike O’Connor (12 May 2017)

Social Justice is winning (29 March 2017) Video

“Massive immigration and forced assimilation is called genocide when it’s done in Tibet. When it’s done in White countries it’s called “diversity.”” (Source)

College ‘Diversity Council’ Admits to Posting Fake Racist Flyers On Campus (23 March 2017)

Misguided drive for diversity is sending us headlong off a cliff (28 February 2017)

By promoting diversity over fighting ability the Army is alienating its warriors (25 February 2016)

Why Diversity Programs Fail (July-August 2016)

The 2017 Women’s March, Women’s Strike & other anti-Trump protests

As you are no doubt aware, in November 2016 the American people chose a new President. He’s a bit different from the previous one, and some people aren’t too happy about this. Piers Morgan provides further context in his article entitled:

Memo to millennials, that awful feeling you’ve got is called losing. It happens. If you want to know how to win, stop whinging for a bit and learn some lessons from Trump

In this post I have thrown together a few snippets concerning the troubling, unproductive and all-too-often violent leftist/SJW/feminist response to the democratic process …

Some related articles:

Women’s Marchers Say Pro-Lifers Can’t Be Feminists

Limo torched in anti-Trump protests belonged to Muslim immigrant who faces £80,000 bill

Commentary: After assault by inaugural protesters, a call to redefine nation’s character

Women’s March featured speaker who kidnapped, raped and tortured a man (with related Reddit discussion thread here)

Feminists should face their own flaws, not sneer at Melania Trump

Ann Widdecombe Calls Women’s March ‘Pathetic’ on Good Morning Britain (video)

College Professor Exposes Women’s March on Washington (video)

Dear Daughter: Here’s Why I Didn’t March For You by Mary Ramirez

Women’s march: #ButItsAboutEquality! by Hannah Wallen

White Women behaving badly by Janet Bloomfield

More divisive that Trump by Corrine Barraclough

About the organisers/speakers & celebrity hangers-on:

The celebrities shown here loathe Trump because of how he objectifies women

What others thought of the Women’s March and preceding protests:

Tangible outcomes of the Women’s March:

And after the Women’s March came the Women’s Strike on 8 March 2017:

A Day Without Women, A Defamation of Men (8 March 2017)

Meet the terrorist behind the next women’s march (25 February 2017) See related Reddit discussion thread here.

Women’s strike could be coming and history tells us what will happen by Jane Gilmore (8 February 2017)

Pray men never take a day off by Janet Bloomfield (18 September 2013)

A New Year’s message from Bettina Arndt

I wish I had a dollar for every letter I have received from an Australian man congratulating me for daring to write about what’s happening to men in this country. I’ve written about issue after issue where men are being done over: the denial of women’s role in domestic violence; the beat-up over sexual harassment; the increasingly anti-male rape laws; the scandal over shonky research being used to deny fathers overnight care of young children after marital separation. The list goes on.

My correspondents claim they wouldn’t dare speak out about these issues for fear they will be howled down. That’s the great irony. The men who are claimed to still rule our world are too frightened to stand up for themselves. Well, now there are things you can do to help change the debate in this country.

This year an important international conference on men’s issues will be convened on the Gold Coast on 9-11 June 2017. See more information at http://icmi.info/ .

Some of the great international speakers coming to that event are bound to shake things up – I’ll write more about them in the future but they include Erin Pizzey and Karen Straughan whose videos are available here. It’s important we get people to sign up soon to ensure the conference is a success. So please spread the word.

But there’s another issue where we need you all to get on board. Last October I wrote in The Australian about a documentary called The Red Pill which was to have been screened by Palace Cinemas that month in Melbourne. Unfortunately the Palace owner caved into pressure from an anti-male lobby group and ended up cancelling the screening – the only place in the world where this happened. See my blog… http://www.bettinaarndt.com.au/news/the-red-pill-2/

The Red Pill was made by a well-known feminist filmmaker, Cassie Jaye, who took a good look at some of the men’s issues – thinking she was going to send up men’s rights groups – and ended up concluding there are serious issues that are impacting on men and that feminists are behaving badly in shutting down proper debate on these topic. The Melbourne screening ended up taking place as a result of crowdfunding, which attracted a huge response from people offended by the idea that in a free country like Australia it is possible for such a small lobby group to determine what the rest of us are allowed to see.

See Cassie Jaye’s interview with Andrew Bolt on Sky News. http://www.bettinaarndt.com.au/news/time-mens-issues-agenda/#foobox-1/1/xb0NOcWv4cE

Since then the lobby groups have managed to stop another viewing in Sydney.

Now a new one is planned for Brisbane on January 14 : https://www.facebook.com/events/377824965903301/?active_tab=about

But lobby groups are working hard to close that down too. See here, a typical article which misrepresents the contents of the movie, falsely attributing misogynist quotes to the men’s rights activists interviewed in the movie.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2016/12/29/secret-brisbane-screening-for-divisive-mens-rights-doco-the-r/.

We have to stop this happening. Just think about it – here’s a movie about the unfairness of feminist activists stopping public discussion over important issues in men’s lives and we are allowing them to get away with preventing Australian audiences even seeing the documentary.

You can help stop this madness by exposing what is going on here. We need you all to ensure this Brisbane screening of The Red Pill is a success by making sure people book in and come along to see it.

Can you please post information about what is happening here everywhere you can think to do so – on Facebook, twitter, send messages to your email contacts, ring up radio stations, write letters to newspapers, post comments on line. The reason the activists are getting away with closing down these events is people aren’t aware of what is going on.

Let’s make 2017 the year we stopped complaining about anti-male treatment and actually did something about it. Promoting The Red Pill is a great place to start. And don’t forget to book in for the men’s issues conference in June.

See also:

More feminist censorship: Cancellation of the Australian premiere of The Red Pill movie

International conference on men’s issues 2016

A few observations in relation to yet another article critical of men

The mainstream media is awash with articles infused with anti-male bias. Indeed after being conditioned through decades of exposure to this material, most people accept what they are told. In comparison to most of those articles, the focus of this post regarding alleged male risk-taking behaviour is admittedly rather benign. Indeed, if taken at face-value it appears to be sympathetic to the welfare of men & boys.

Examined more closely however the article reflects the contrasting and hypocritical manner in which the media addresses men’s & women’s issues.

The same day I noticed this article I came across another in a similar vein. That article mocks men in relation to another trait associated with masculinity – demonstrating protective behaviour towards women.

No there is nothing controversial about shaming men – just men – about pretty much anything nowadays. That’s kind of my point. And the article isn’t so much about “asking why“, but telling us why … apparently men are foolish.

And oddly, whilst this is an article about men’s behaviour, it begins with an account of the drowning of a 23 month old toddler. This seems to infer that even very young boys are dying due to masculinity-induced recklessness. Presumably female toddlers are more careful.

As the article is relatively brief, I’ll provide it here in its entirety:

Drownings blamed on men’s risky behaviour‘ (The Australian, 30 December 2016)

“The twin brother pulled unconscious from a Sydney swimming pool has died three days after his sister, in what has been described as a “deeply disturbing” week for water deaths.

Charli and Robbi Manago, 23 months, had been fighting for life in The Children’s Hospital at Westmead since they were found in their family’s pool around 7pm on December 20. The hospital last night confirmed Robbi had died.

His death takes the number of coastal and inland waterway fatalities since Sunday to 11. Nine of the dead were men.

Experts say a deadly cocktail of conditions — male bravado, consistent warm weather, and a poor understanding of water dangers — has led to the deaths.

As police and volunteers return to Sydney’s Maroubra Beach to find the body of missing teenager Tui Gallaher and search a Wagga river in the south of NSW for a 42-year-old man, experts have warned people not to overestimate their abilities.

Between 80 and 90 per cent of drowning victims are male, according to recent figures.

Four people died on Boxing Day, including 60-year-old Geoffrey Blackadder, who died trying to save young relatives from a rip on the NSW north coast, and 25-year-old Amine Hamza, who died after swimming with friends at Bents Basin in Sydney’s west.

“It’s deeply disturbing. Men are more likely to overestimate their swimming ability and underestimate how dangerous conditions are,” said Justin Scarr, chief executive at the Royal Life -Saving Society Australia.

“Men are more likely to swim in locations away from lifeguards and crowds, and they’re also more likely to consume ­alcohol.””

As you can see, the premise of the article is that substantially more men die from drowning due to those men taking excessive and presumably avoidable risks.

May I ask you, when was the last time you saw a headline “X blamed on women’s risky behaviour”? Where ‘X’ might have been death/rape/injury/cosmetic surgery/whatever. 1965? That’s because journalists know that when they discuss any such situations they must, at all costs, avoid be called-out for ‘victim-blaming’. And yet the same consideration is not on offer when men are the victims. Gender equality when it suits?

The assertion that drowning deaths result from men taking undue risks appears unproven. The examples of swimming outside the flags and drinking are provided, although neither of these behaviours are exclusive to men.

There are other possible explanations for a gender variation in deaths, particularly the likelihood that men venture into the water more often, and for longer periods, than do women. Clearly those who don’t go to the beach, or who lie on their towels 95% of the time, are less likely to drown in the ocean.

All outdoor activities have some degree of inherent risk, i.e. they are all “risky”. Given that men are significantly more likely than women to participate in almost all forms of outdoor recreation, they are clearly more likely to be injured or killed participating in such activities. One of the few exceptions is netball, a sport recognised as having a low risk of drowning.

If a significant number of drowning deaths were due to medical emergencies then it would make more sense to focus on men’s health, than male shaming. It is likely that some of the male drowning deaths were also the result of men attempting to rescue others.

For the purpose of this discussion let’s concede that “risky behaviour” (to be defined) may indeed result in more men drowning than women. And of course it would be preferable that those tragedies not occur. But before rushing to judgement let’s also consider the issue of risk-taking by men in a broader context.

Men tend to take more risks than women, and this risk-taking results in a range of both positive and negative impacts on society. On the positive side I would go so far as to propose that risk-taking by men has been and continues to be the powerhouse of civilisation.

Need someone to step forward to defend a woman being attacked? Men are expected to step forward, and are shamed if they do not. Need someone to defend a country from attack? Ditto.

In Australia 97% of workplace deaths involve men – around 175 people in 2016. Men working in dangerous and unpleasant jobs that women generally won’t accept. Where is the outrage about the risks these men take in providing necessary services to the community?

Based on media coverage, or lack thereof, it would appear that men taking risks in the name of chivalry, industry and national service is acceptable if not expected. In contrast, men taking risks during their leisure hours is unacceptable and worthy of negative media attention.

Men don’t deserve to be shamed for exhibiting the trait of risk-taking, nor for choosing not to do so. In fact greater recognition that male risk-taking more often benefits society would seem appropriate.

Sure there will be times when some men deserve a thoughtful journalistic rap over the knuckles, but this should not be the default position. Similarly there are times when women’s behaviour merits a commensurate sanction. At the moment however women are rarely subject to criticism, are encouraged to take risks, and the blame for any negative repercussions more often placed at the feet of men.

It’s time everyone got on the same page with gender equality, and recognised that there should be one standard to which we are all held. And that support and empathy should be consistently applied and gender-blind. Anything less will see more of the same unfortunate and divisive gender bias that now permeates the mainstream media.

See also:

Reader posts in a related Reddit discussion thread here

Former senior judge Richard Gee latest to die in summer drowning tragedy (3 January 2016)

Further related blog posts that may be of interest include:

On chivalry

Persistent pro-feminist and anti-male bias in the mainstream media

On masculinity and ‘real men’

How men are portrayed … Haw Haw Haw! The jokes on us

Women are held accountable for … (say hello to the Teflon Gender)

Men do more of most things … get a target painted on their backs

On being male or female (incl. innate differences, stereotyping and so on)

Men’s Referral Service: Clayton’s* support for male victims of domestic violence

“The Men’s Referral Service provides telephone counselling and referrals for Australian men impacted by family violence.” (Source)

The Men’s Referral Service (‘MRS’) web site does not provide any information about the management of MRS nor its legal or financial details. Readers are informed that:

“The Men’s Referral Service is a service of No To Violence, Male Family Violence Prevention Association (NTV). Find out more about NTV.”

Further details regarding MRS can however be accessed in their ACNC register entry, including their constitution, list of directors, and financial returns. The most recent financial report (year ending 30 June 2015) showed annual income of just over $2 million, of which just under $1.7 million was received in the form of government grant/s. The biggest single expense, just over $1.7 million, was listed as “staffing costs”.

Whilst the material provided in the MRS web site provides some pretence about their interest and involvement in supporting male victims of domestic violence, they are very much a pro-feminist organisation whose primary interest is the isolation and treatment of abusive men.

The MRS was recently thrust into the limelight as a result of a decision by feminist NSW Minister, Pru Goward, to award them an extremely lucrative grant ($13 million over 4 years) to ostensibly provide support services for male victims of domestic violence.

That ill-judged decision was discussed in some detail in this Nov 2016 article by Bettina Arndt, and also in this media release from the One in Three advocacy group – which I would recommend that you now take a moment to read.

This news came some time after the original media release announcing the availability of funding for male victims of domestic violence. This was much- applauded at the time by individuals opposed to the gender-biased nature in which government grants had been dispensed up to that point in time:

“For the first time in NSW, male victims of domestic and family violence will receive dedicated support, NSW Attorney General Gabrielle Upton and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Pru Goward announced today.

“As part of a record investment in domestic and family violence prevention, the 2016-17 Budget included $13.3 million over four years to make it easier and faster for men and boys to get help when they need it,” Ms Upton said.” (Source)

Thus this has been very much a case of two steps forward and one step back in terms of achieving a reasonable and equitable level of support for male victims of domestic violence.

*To learn the meaning of the term Clayton’s see here

See also:

One man’s grassroots insight into the Duluth Model domestic violence perpetrator programme (15 December 2016) Helps explain, amongst other things, why unsuitable groups like MRS are awarded contracts like this one.

Should we scrutinise ALL reports of family violence? (2 December 2016)

Someone has described how the new feminist DV intervention system in Australia works in menslib and askfeminists. Its absolutely disgraceful (February 2016) Reddit mensrights discussion thread

Elsewhere in this blog you might also be interested in reading:

On recognising and supporting male victims of domestic violence

Partners in alms: A primer on the ‘Domestic Violence Industry’

Australian taxpayer-funded organisations that do little/nothing for men (other than demonising them)

Another government inquiry to tell us that domestic violence = men beating women because patriarchy

Excuse me NSW Government, your gender bias and lack of objectivity is showing (again)