Narrating Men's Problem from a Gender Perspective

While there is a substantial effort in promoting women services in Hong Kong in the last decade, men's service is still underdeveloped. This partly reflects that changing men is much more difficult than changing women, which is especially true under a strong patriarchal culture in Chinese societies such as Hong Kong. One of the strongest hindrances is the taken for granted belief that pursuing gender equality is women's business. To date, many social services agencies have started to provide services for men. However, many men's services and men's group only resort to pragmatism and common sense approach in response to men's problems which often stemmed from dominant patriarchal ideology.

The study attempts to understand men's problems from a gender perspective. To capture the complexities of the problems, we had employed both quantitative and qualitative methodologies to collect data via telephone interviews and in-depth interviews in this study. We have successfully telephone interviewed 547 adult men aged from 18 to 65 to understand their views on different sources of pressure including work, economic situations, family relationship, human relationship, personal development, health and social status. To further explore the perceptions and discourses of their problems, we had selected 10 respondents for in-depth interviews including lone father, male perpetuator of domestic violence, unemployed man, man with disability, ethnic minorities, sex worker, full-time carer, middle-class man and man on benefits. The study showed that most of the problems that respondents faced can be traced to the fixation of male gender role and the structure of gender practice dominating our society. By reframing men's problem from a gender perspective, we can open up new alternatives in solving men's problem and achieving gender equality in society.