‘Culture shift’ needed on role of men in family and workplace, claims Leeds council report

Society’s understanding of the role of men in the family must change in order to help Leeds become a more woman-friendly city, a report has claimed.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 10th December 2019, 11:45 am

The recommendation comes as part of early plans to help improve women’s health in Leeds – which also includes greater support for those self harming and victims of sexual violence.

It follows a document released earlier this year, which claimed health services were unfairly weighted against the needs of women, and that this issue needed to be addressed by local authorities and health providers.

The State of Women’s Health report, released in June, claimed that conversations around healthcare should be “gendered”, such are the differences in health and societal experiences between men and women.

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The meeting will take place at Leeds Civic Hall.

A new document, set to go before Leeds City Council’s health and wellbeing board this week, has revealed that officers have agreed to new steps to help women’s health in the city.

The document stated: “For Leeds to be a women friendly city, this means working for greater gender equality and creating a culture shift around men as carers, their role within the family, community and workplace for future generations. This needs to be reflected in the language and proposals within the initiative and linked to the state of men’s health report with an update at a future HWB.”

It claimed the panel would “progress actions” and “further build on our offer of support for young women and girls who self-harm and/or have other mental health problems”.

The report added that the council wanted to “strengthen connections with carers”, particularly, young adult carers (aged 16-25), as well as a greater focus on safety and (sexual) violence.

It stated: “For Leeds to challenge ourselves on how we commission and deliver our services that reflect gendered health and other characteristics.”

During a meeting of the panel in June 2019, members were presented with the State of Women’s Health report which raised issues around such areas as mental health, diabetes and addiction problems among Leeds’s female population.

In an impassioned speech during that meeting, the report’s author Prof Alan White called on health providers to do more to take into account the different experiences of men and women.

He said: “We think we know women’s health, but we don’t know women’s health.

“This was a fantastic opportunity to delve into the issues facing women. When you look at these issues, you have to stand back and think very carefully about everything.

“The biology and social and cultural experiences of women are different from men. That impacts on their health and wellbeing, and their social place in society.”

“When you look at the impact of things like austerity, housing decisions and employment – you realise the narrative here.

“I talk about this report globally – I have spoken about it to the World Health organisation, I have spread this report around, and everybody is coming back and saying ‘wow, this is really important’.

“Once we think about how we make women safe and live longer lives, we realised that all the conversations you have had today should be gendered, because everything you’ve talked about differentially impacts women and men.”