Misogyny and the denigration of women: from Rotherham to Iraq

A couple of links via the excellent Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation (IKRWO) on Facebook:

First, a letter to The Independent, on the Rotherham abuse scandal,  from a number of Muslim organisations campaigning for women’s rights. Key quote:

The honour code has no place in this country: women and girls, regardless of background, culture, ethnicity, religion, lifestyle, or familial lineage, are of equal worth. Fortunately, there is an emerging generation of human rights activists in Britain – many of whom are young, female and secular-minded – who are campaigning hard against misogyny and patriarchy within our communities.

Second, an article by Haleh Esfandiari, herself a former prisoner of conscience in Iran, on the way cruelty towards women by the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has been downplayed in media coverage. Key quote:

Volunteer fighters from around the world, including from Western countries, who have joined ISIS are complicit in these crimes against women. These young men who grew up in Western cultures seem to have absorbed nothing regarding the value of human life and respect for women. Why are there are no demonstrations in Western and Muslim societies against this barbaric onslaught on women and girls? How much longer will the Muslim and Arab world watch these horrors against women and children before speaking out and acting forcefully to protect them and rid the region of the ISIS calamity?

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Male role models in the media

‘Beyond Male Role Models’, the ESRC-funded research project that I’m currently leading, has attracted some media interest since our official launch in London a couple of weeks ago. We were mentioned in this Guardian article about a mentoring scheme run by Action for Children, our research partners. Last week I was interviewed by Robert Perrone on BBC Three Counties Radio. And then this accolade: an article in the MK (Milton Keynes) News that featured a photo of yours truly alongside David Beckham. I should make clear (in case there is any misunderstanding): Beckham is not my male role model!

Martin and Beckham

Posted in Boys and young men, Masculinities, Media, Research | Leave a comment

Faith and fatherhood on video

In June I took part in a seminar on ‘Fathers and fatherhood: policy, representation and experience’, organised by The Open University’s Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance (CCIG). I was pleased to be asked to present the findings from my research, alongside key researchers in the field such as Margaret O’Brien, Jacqui Gabb and Gail Lewis.

My great grandfather, Charles Edward Robb

My great grandfather, Charles Edward Robb

My grandfather, Arthur Ernest Robb

My grandfather, Arthur Ernest Robb

My presentation was entitled “‘With prayer from your loving father': faith and fatherhood in one man’s letters to his son during the First World War” and drew on work in progress on my great grandfather’s letters to my grandfather in early 1916, when the latter was serving in the Royal Fusiliers and awaiting embarkation for France.

You can watch complete videos of all the presentations from the seminar here. My talk can be found on the second screen down. For Powerpoint slides from the presentation, follow this link and go to the foot of the page.

Posted in Faith, Family relationships, Fathers, Masculinities, Research | Leave a comment

An excuse for (apparent) inactivity

If things have seemed a little quiet around here lately, it’s because I’m active elsewhere – contributing to the blog for our new ESRC-funded research project, ‘Beyond Male Role Models: gender identities and practices in work with young men’. Do pop over and take a look – and follow us on Twitter.

There might be other research and teaching-related stuff I want to blog about here – but most of my time will be taken up with the project for the next little while.

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Research assistant wanted

In my last post I mentioned our success in attracting ESRC funding for a new research project on gender and young men, to be carried out in partnership with Action for Children. We’re hoping to get started on the project in May, and we’re currently looking for a part-time Research Assistant to join the team.

If you have experience of social research and of working with young people, and a good understanding of gender issues, we’d be pleased to hear from you. The closing date is 16th May and you can find further details here.

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Funding success!

Just before Christmas, Brigid Featherstone, Sandy Ruxton and I received the long-awaited news that our funding bid to the Economic and Social Research Council had been successful. This means that we can finally begin work on our research project, tentatively entitled ‘Do Boys Need Male Role Models? Gender Identities and Practices in Work with Young Men’.

The two-year study, which we’ll be undertaking in partnership with Action for Children, a national voluntary organisation, aims to examine whether the gender identity of workers makes a difference in developing effective relationships with vulnerable young men, and to explore how gender interacts with other aspects of identity, such as class and ethnicity, in those day-to-day relationships. We’re hoping that our findings will contribute to academic debates about the development of young masculinities and young men’s transitions to adulthood, and also have an impact on policy and practice in relation to boys perceived to be ‘at risk’.

The idea for the study arose from a seminar that Sandy and I organised a couple of years ago, and builds on work that all three of us have been doing on various aspects of the relationship between masculinity, care and welfare services.

I’ll be posting updates about the study here and on Twitter, and we’d love to hear from anyone with an interest in our work, or working in similar areas. You can leave a comment here, send me a tweet, or email me at: Martin.Robb@open.ac.uk

Posted in Boys and young men, Masculinities, Research | Leave a comment

Thinking aloud about mums and dads

This week’s Thinking Allowed on Radio 4, presented by Laurie Taylor, focused in part on the subject of men and childbirth. I was asked to write a short piece about my research for the linked Open University website. I was quite pleased that, in under 800 words, I managed to mention the riots, absent fathers, my past research studies on fathering and on maternal relationships, and my current interest in the ‘male role models’ debate. And I managed to plug two of the OU modules to which I’ve contributed…

You can find my article here.

Posted in Boys and young men, Fathers, Media, Mothers, Research | Leave a comment