Walking in Edinburg for Men and Boys.

CAPITAL MARCH CELEBRATING MEN & BOYS MOVED TO 19th June 2021

Edinburgh’s “colourful, inclusive, and positive” event celebrating Men & Boys – and highlighting the many inequalities they face in accessing services – has been moved from 20th March 2021 to the 19th June 2021.

The “Marching for Men & Boys 2021 event” which will see men, women, and young people from all over Edinburgh & the Lothians marching from 37 Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH1 2NE  and down the Royal Mile to the Scottish Parliament, with speeches, music and merriment along the way, had hoped to stage its event before Christmas, but COVID19 restrictions have caused a re-think, with a new Spring date now scheduled.

Led by a piper, and with participants carrying balloons and sweets, the exuberant event is part of a three month annual programme of marches organised by Split The Difference. This not for profit organisation founded by Welsh campaigner Sally-Anne Burris, is aiming to ensure that men and boys are as equally served as women and girls, by those who structure the governance within the UK and other countries throughout the world. Current areas of inequality experienced by the male gender include family law, healthcare provision, legal representation, housing, and education, not to mention domestic abuse.

The walk will take place within whatever current Government Covid19 guidelines there are in place at the time. The inaugural Marching for Men & Boys event held in London on September 12th 2020 maintained all needs in relation to social distancing, with stewards handing out face masks and hand sanitiser.

Split The Difference will request that those planning to attend the march be mindful of their own health, and if they show any signs or symptoms that they may have contracted the virus that they remain at home.

Now planning to facilitate a march in Scotland, Ireland and Wales over the next six months, before returning to London next September, Split The Difference is hoping that the UK wide programme will continue for the foreseeable future with regular marches, perhaps even turning into a Festival, that not only highlights the needs of men and boys, but identifies and celebrates the positive attributes they bring to society.

The Scottish date has been lent generous assistance by the organisation Gender Parity UK, who have agreed to co-host the Edinburgh event. It is expected to compete handsomely with the Split The Difference London march with enquiries going passed the figures allowed so tickets are expected to go quickly.

Philipp Tanser, from Gender Parity UK, said: “Men’s issues are often invisible and there is a lack of awareness, recognition and support in many areas. Only by publicly talking about men’s mental health, suicide, homelessness, custody issues, male victims of abuse and other issues men face, can we create change.”

Sally-Anne Burris, a qualified therapist and journalist with over thirty years experience working within high-risk, frontline services, said: “We are delighted to announce this fresh date and that we are still planning to celebrate men and boys in Edinburgh ready for fathers day. It will be worth it, as I think the Spring will see renewed impetus in all sorts of issues we care about as a nation – in politics, in a renewed fight for the economy, and in living our lives in a meaningful way.”

“My thanks go to Philipp, and our many other supporters who have helped with the event rescheduling.”

“Gender Parity UK’s help has been invaluable in spreading awareness of our cause, and I’m now seeking a similar organisation to perhaps come forward to assist with our march in the Republic of Ireland which will also take place next year.”

From Pontypridd in Wales, Sally-Anne has dedicated the last ten years of her life to campaigning for male rights and has put thousands of pounds of her own money to the cause.  Having been partly inspired by the loss of her only brother who was never able to find the right kind of support he desperately needed from a teenage boy into manhood, she wants to see the pendulum swing back into balance providing men and boys with equal rights.

“The nature of my work as a therapist over many years, which has included areas like homelessness, drug and alcohol, child protection and  more, has led me to recognise the many inequalities men face, when you know the truth on where inequalities in services lie you have only one choice, use your profession, education, the facts that are there waiting and use your voice to share with others. We want equal rights for everyone, regardless of gender, class, or circumstance,” she said.

“This walk for men and boys is to celebrate who they are to us and what they bring to families and the community and what an amazing time to celebrate just before fathers-day.  We have bag pipes, balloons and a whole lot of respect and love, come share the beautiful city of Edinburgh and let our men and boys know you care,” she added. “Expect to see smiling faces, singing, and men and women walking together in unity. We’ll end the march at the Parliament.”

“On occasions I have been asked by people why as a woman I promote equality for men and boys,” said Sally-Anne. “There seems to be an assumption by some women that we are required to only support the female agenda. “It is a human need to support each other and right now it is our men and boys who need an effort made to open pathways into supportive services.”

Keen to stress that the intent of the walks is not in any way overtly political, or confrontational, Sally-Anne said that Split The Difference would like to be involved in the consultation process around hate crime, her belief is that professionals, services, governance and the general public need to raise awareness and work together.  She sees her work and sharing information, letting people see the truth while professionally challenge direct discrimination men experience.

“I hope to champion this cause ahead of the march next year. I’m hoping to carry out some podcasts and media interviews between now and then,” she said.

Continued Philipp Tanser from Gender Parity UK: “There are many organisations that, without funding, support men and boys. They do a wonderful job, despite their lack of government support, but we think it is time for the media to raise awareness of these male disadvantages and for the government to remedy them.”

“We are extending an invitation to all these great organisations to join us on the march on the 19th June 2021, to be visible, promote their services, and to send a signal out to men and boys that they are not alone in their struggles. We will have a wide range of speakers in front of Parliament after our march who will address topics such as Homelessness, Fatherhood, the Justice System and Domestic Abuse.”

 Philipp will also spend the time prior to the march promoting the event by handing out invitations, putting up posters and collecting money for the Male Domestic Abuse Organisation AMIS (Abused Men In Scotland). www.abusedmeninscotland.org.

Sally-Anne finished by saying: “We are very passionate about making a real difference to any legislature, and all types of meaningful consultation are crucial to ensure men get a far better balance in many areas of the law.” We know the truth, statistics and evidence now provides leaders with easy access to this knowledge, it is no longer an option to ignore the needs of men and boys, it is time to act and do something about it.”

“We’re really looking forward to engaging with the Edinburgh populus on the day of the March. I believe it will give out a positive focus at this time.”

Further details on the Split The Difference Scottish March, and the overall campaign, can be found at https://splitthedifference.com/campaign.

www.split-the-difference.com

Background to Split The Difference – Launched July 2020

Why the organisation was set up

In every article set out within The Universal Declaration of Human Rights Split The Difference found that the acts of law, policies and strategies which govern societies do not support men and boys in the same way as they do women.  A gender bias against men was identified and Split The Difference believes that society needs to know how this effects men, boys and their families.

Article 2 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights tells us;

“Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.”

Split The Difference has an abhorrent dislike for anything that pulls humanity away from these basic but poetic values, and after five years of research and evaluation has no choice but to commit to campaigning for the recentralization of equality.

Split The Difference knows through its work over the last five years that supporting women and girls should never mean excluding men and boys, why would anyone ever want it to be? But because that has now happened men and boys no longer have a fair place in the world to thrive.

Purely because of their gender, men and boys are fundamentally excluded through a global narrative that is seeing them stripped of their rights to be part of Article 2.

The campaign shows that the behaviours and narrative of governance, policies, and societal strategies exclude men and boys. The justifications for doing that have no foundation in fact and evidence.

Governments are meant to protect and care for all, they have a legal requirement to ensure that men, women and children’s needs are researched, evaluated and provided for.

Some of the issues Split The Difference has noted:

Over the last five years every piece of legislation and funding strategy researched in over 15 countries has focused on women and girls needs, whilst ignoring men.

 The narrative within all were written in the female context, in all cases women and girls held priority while men and boys were dismissed or excluded.

 That when men or boys were included they were referenced in the negative context, in no cases were they referenced in areas of need in a positive context.

That when Split The Difference has evaluated the needs within each act of law, policy or strategy, that the statistical evidence that is meant to aid leaders in making sure they care for all of us, tells that there has ‘NEVER IN ANY CIRCUMSTANCES’, been any justification for men and boys to be excluded or dismissed from receiving the same support as women and girls.

Men suffer abuse, forced marriage, slavery, domestic violence, they need, clean water, education, to have respect, the right to be safe, the right to educate.

The last five years have shown that we live in a world society that is fundamentally based on illusions and that facts, evidence, statistics, women and men are telling us to not stop what we are doing so the scales of equality can be brought into balance.

Without balance in what we hope for each other, without balance in how we provide for each other, we will never have societies that assist both genders to thrive and feel valued.

This is not acceptable. We cannot ask for equality without standing beside men and boys and asking the same, for them.

 
Split the Difference outlines here some of its areas of concern:


Courts & Associated Services

Simply, the services delivered within the court systems are only able to operate under the guidance stated within the acts of law. The campaign will compare the journeys of a man and woman through systems that should be designed to support genders equally. We will follow cases and explore the impact on individuals and families. We hope that by documenting the journey we will assist services to understand the full pathway of both men and women prior to becoming part of these processes and what happens after. Currently what our research tells us is there is a vast difference in the support men and women receive.

Education

Prior to formulating this campaign, research was done looking at how education approaches the needs of each gender. There are some startling facts on how the education system is failing boys. The campaign will look at what contributes to this, explore inspection processes, courses and support available to girls and boys and raise awareness on the needs of children and adults to enable them to thrive. We will explore how educating all professions on equal gender representation impact society and enables communities to thrive, linking in with some of the intuitive acts and strategies, for example the UK’s future generations act. We intend to use real life experiences, showing the journeys of individuals, families and professionals as they move through education systems in both the statutory and private sector.

Legal Representatives

Education, training and social trends impact on the professional development of people who choose to become legal professionals. This role is a commendable profession and takes a lot of hard work, mental and emotional resilience from the individuals and organisations who are designed to support individuals and families. The campaign will explore how professionals implement their roles, what challenges them and how they work to ensure people are represented within legal services. The campaign will also endeavour to share what our research tells us about the in-equalities in services, offering an opportunity in building awareness and contributing to change in how the support for men and women is implemented equally.

Gathering Of Statistics

Our research has shown that the way the data is collected, correlated and calculated enables inequality to be in place in the services delivered in the community. One of the major influencers in how governments and all the services within our communities conduct their business is statistic gathering agencies. This is done by organisations supported by governments and some which are independent. Statistics and data gathering, i.e. census, questionnaires and polls all feed into how statutory, charitable (NGO’s) and private businesses spend their money. They also influence how each organisation will plan its future and what may impact those plans. The campaign will explore the processes that individuals will go through in becoming a statistic, how this process is often gender bias and how contributing agencies are managed by the statistic system.

Police & Associated Services

Here are societies heroes and heroines, when they are guided by gender equal policies. In a positively structured society, this is a profession that educates its teams in ensuring communities are safe and have their rights served. Of course, they also enforce harmony by ensure we all adhere to our responsibilities as individuals. They are part of the campaign because our research showed that some of the services that the police work with have major issues in how they deliver equal rights to men and women. These services influence the choices the police are able to make when deferring to alternatives to custodial sentences and when referring people to support services. The campaign will show the impact on officers and their teams in attempting to support and police communities. We will also aim to share the data, research and stories to enable police services to see the broader impact and how they may be able to influence improved services that focus on men and women having the same response and opportunities when they move through police management.

Equality Human Rights

Equality centers around the right to choose who we are, it is a fundamental basic core that ensures true equality exist. It is not a gift or questionable allowance, it is a right. We believe that it is not helpful to aim for 50/50, that this excludes humanities desire to be individuals and to try to be the best we can be. Equality doesn’t thrive in an environment when you say I am the same as the woman or man next to me, it thrives when you can say, I choose to be what my heart, mind and body allows me to be. Equality stands strong when you can make a choice, regardless of your gender, colour, faith, age, culture etc. Equality = Choice Choice = Equality The campaign identified that when language and guidance only includes one party within its narrative it excludes at the same time. What our research has told us is that without basic, equal representation within acts of law, strategies and service direction there will always be people who are excluded. We believe the most supportive way to write guidance is to either include both genders or remove gender and base each public service guidance on statistical evidence of need. The campaign will serve Equality by reporting on case studies from all sections of society, from pre-birth to end of life. We will show when equality works and when it fails, we will endeavour to give all perspectives and reasoning and let those who have education and/or knowledge, who know more than we, influence best practice.

Health

Globally health statistics show that gender matters in how we remain healthy. Biologically men and women are different but we also have differences in how we function mentally and emotionally. In areas of health our research has shown that the support for men and women has massive inequalities that contribute to issues that are disabling, isolating and which cause long term harm. We know that there are some obvious issues, for example, on average in the UK alone two out of three suicides are men, but health and well being strategies are hugely directed at women. The campaign will draw on statistics, look at how inequality happens, what the impact is and share solutions told through the stories of men and women who live through those inequalities.

Children’s Services

This campaign began in Wales, but in creating it we looked at statistics and evidence from many countries. All over the world, the impact of gender in-equality is evident from the day a child is born. Human rights are something we all hold in the fabric of our existence and to see whether it is permitted in a society all you need to do is look at the support available for a child. This is easy because all societies understand that the measurement of life is in how different societies care for its children. Children’s services in each country we added to our research show a fundamental lack of gender equality in the rights of children. We placed the child at the core of our research and out of that looked at all the relationships the child would encounter as it grew, their opportunities, how society recognised their needs and why boys were treated differently to girls. The campaign will show how the acts and strategies written to protect children struggle because of the impact of gender inequality and how this creates an environment where those who strive to support children to succeed, become the very thing that causes them harm. The campaign will use case studies, statistical evidence and re-enacted story-telling to show impact and enable individuals, families and professionals to see why, what, how and who can make a difference in changing how we support future generations with equal respect and equal choice to satisfy needs.

Social Services

The research we have conducted has shown that support delivered by social services often excludes the needs of men and boys. Some of the strongest examples can be seen within domestic abuse and child protection cases. The impact on children particularly is profound and we recognise that while social workers are educated to protect individuals and families who are going through vulnerable situations, the limitations within their own policies and the inequality of the gender services in the community for them to work in partnership with or refer to, disables them from offering the right kind of support at the right time. The campaign will explore the challenges social workers have, why those challenges are in place and how this effects families in the short and long term. We will show how inequality disables key government strategies from being effective and how small changes can impact positively on all family members going through social service processes.

Acts Of Law UN & UK

The United Nations is one of the most inspirational achievements of our times, it is a working progress and has influenced how societies succeed when people work together. It pays tribute to the rights of human beings to thrive in their culture, religion and in their identities as human beings. Our research has shown that they strongly motivate countries and organisations to base their service on basic principles and we can see their dedication to this. We know that sometimes when people are attempting to service society it is very difficult to incorporate the needs of all. Through the research we complete we mapped how member countries have incorporated the UN’s directives into acts of law and strategies. We explored how these were filtered into national and local strategies and how they influenced services that are delivered to individuals and families. As a result of this piece of research our campaign for acts of law to be either written in the narrative of both genders or reference none is to be directed towards the United Nations. The reasoning behind this is based on our exploration of how member countries adopt the guidance within their acts of law and national strategies. We have read a massive amount of the guidance given to the member states, cross referenced some of this with statistical evidence of need in the area of guidance and have noted that gender reference does not reflect human needs. In all cases the impact of gender reference within the guidance means that within the countries who filter the guidance into their acts and policies, the gender becomes exclusive to those policies. The campaign will explore the impact of gender in policy and governance, we will adopt a ‘did you know’ theme and explore the impact on services where gender has created exclusivity in accessing people facing services. We will use case studies, re-enactment documentaries and report of the impact families experience in a gender bias environment.

Third Sector

Out of all the research that was completed in formulating this campaign, every country we connected to showed a deep, systemic inequality in available services for men and boys. Services delivered by not for profit agencies show diversity in how they are funded, they are commissioned receive grants or often self-fund through running profit making businesses. The origin of these services are often organic, so will start from individuals or groups identifying community needs and supporting that need in a volunteer capacity. Agencies will support for many different reasons, health, education, housing, domestic abuse, cancer, the list is endless. The research in this sector showed how through business planning agencies will design services based on community and governmental needs in order to secure funding and support, there is also evidence of agencies adopting aims identified in media trends. These agencies offer fundamental services and without their involvement local communities would struggle but for many different reasons services that support men and boys with issues that are profoundly life changing, for example domestic abuse or mental health are under-represented, there are serious gaps in provision. The campaign will explore those gaps through media reporting, we will use case studies of organisations who are attempting to deliver their services based on evaluated gender needs and utilise researched information by us to show where men and boys are not being served.

Housing

A home is a basic human need and initially was an area we had no intention of prioritising. We had explored the legal responsibilities in communities to deliver housing but as research into other areas progressed we came to realise that the lack of gender equality in other areas was having an impact on housing and its related services, particularly for men. The campaign will focus on raising awareness of the barriers to in accesses social housing particularly for men who share custody of their children or who are full time single fathers. We will follow pathways into housing provision, report on historical and present issues, use case studies and re-enactment story telling. We will share what our research tells us, request that organisations consider what we learn and support organisations who work in partnership with us.

Equality in Service Opportunities

The way services are designed should be based on knowledge and understanding of the individual needs of people who live within different cultures and societies. Where-ever you live, the mechanisms that influence those services may differ but there a core of actions that will decide whether services really do meet the needs of the people governments serve. That core should be based on questions that start with WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, WHY and HOW. It is impossible to spend money on providing services unless you ask questions and the root of those questions should be the people who live within each community. Our research has shown that central government their various strategic departments, local authority provision, NGO’s, charities and private businesses who contract services for governments do not ensure the consultation in formulating services adheres to Equality and Human Rights. We have evidence of direct and meaningful exclusion to men when services are being formulated and reviewed. Shockingly, this too often goes against long standing laws in fiscal policy spending for each country and the ethics wrapped up in UN policies. We have found through our research that this is prevalent throughout all United Nation Member States who were evaluated and has proven to have no foundation or reason so can only be assumed to be a crime against men and boys and their right to have their needs met.

PRESS RELEASE

Split the Difference requests that Scottish Parliament meet with them to discuss the inequalities of men and boys and the direct and indirect discrimination they are experiencing in services across Scotland.  Split the Difference have sent numerous emails requesting appointments with the Scottish equalities commissioner to discuss a UK wide mapping exercise of services in the UK that are struggling to source funding.  Despite numerous emails to discuss the discrimination , to date the equality office has chosen not to reply.

Men and boys are being locked out of desperately needed services in the UK and all UN member states, resulting in premature death, homelessness and major mental health issues.

Split the Difference a project that has made its mission to support men and boys in receiving equal rights to women and girls, has successfully opened its first parliamentary petition requesting that UK government review all its legislation, policy and strategies to include men and boys.

The organisations lead Sally-Anne Burris said: “We cannot continue to ignore facts and evidence that has been screaming at our leaders for decades. “While women and girls have become privileged by government spending that consistently focuses on their needs, our men and boys are having their basic needs trampled over and ignored.”

Split the Difference has spent the last 5 years carrying out national and international research that has shown a deep-rooted inequality for men and boys in the United Nations member states.

In their research they have identified 13 areas that are common denominators in breaking human rights and equality laws by not supporting men and boys equally to women and girls.

On July 1st 2020 a formal request was made to the UN management committees that they support an international campaign to hold countries to account, requesting they review all their legislation, policies and strategic planning to include men and boys or be gender neutral.

Sally-Anne says: “In every single country across the world the suicide rates for men and boys some younger than 10 is higher than women and girls. “In some countries the ratio is as high as 5 out of 6. “This one single fact alone is telling the UN that our men and boys are in crises and that ignoring their needs has no place in humanity.”

Split the difference is currently working with other UN countries to set up management committees who will assist in petitioning their own governments.

Editors Note

Split the difference is an organisation designed to raise awareness on the inequality of men and boys within services that required to include them equally but are failing to do that.

On 1 July they launched their campaign by sending every country in the United Nations headquarters and individual signed letter requesting that all UN countries review their legislation, policy and strategies including fiscal spending. Letters were also sent to the 15 observer agency situated within the United Nations and key influences.

Split the Difference is currently working with other countries to set up management committees who will also support the campaign within their own country.

Using statistical, fact-based evidence and reporting on the issues that men and boys are facing internationally, Split the Difference intends to maintain a consistent approach until governments begin to facilitate change.

The basis of this campaign is five years of research that is shown governments have placed women girls into such a privileged position that they are now actively excluding men and boys from fundamental representative positions, for example the United Nations itself hosts an organisation called UN Women.

This female lead organisation covers every single country across the world, it influences leadership, legislation, policy, strategic planning and fiscal spending. It enables women to have clear defined pathways, in consultation and assessment of women’s needs in all areas, for example health, education, leadership and management, conflict, natural disaster, sustainability and every other area where frontline services and inclusion are present.

While women’s needs are rightly served within the United Nations promotion of human and equality men and boys are disabled from the same voice the same influences.

The UN and all member states should by their very nature never allow themselves to be in a position where they can be challenged in areas of equality and human rights. While formulating UN Women they did not implement the voice of men and boys by providing a similar platform i.e. UN Men.

In all areas of equality there are promoted within the United Nations world celebration days for example women and girls are consistently represented their needs and achievements promoted extensively, this is not the same for men and boys.

It is easy to verify the climate for men and boys simply by visiting the United Nations media and website.  The UN’s representation of equality and its multitude of pages and information focuses only on women and girls, a prime example of the exclusive nature of the United Nations directives.

Split the Difference holds the belief that in all situations, equality is situated in the right to have a voice, to participate in consultation and to be able to make choices.  Currently because of the way governments and the systems within them have been set up choices no longer available for men and boys.

PERSONAL STATEMENT – SALLY ANN BURRIS

I have worked since I left school at 15 ½, was married when I was 19, had four daughters by the time I was 25, and through an IT course I studied so that I could help my children with their homework, I suddenly realised I wasn’t as bad education as I thought I was.  From this point I developed through education and built a professional life centred around people and their needs.

I have worked within, designed and managed high-risk, frontline services for 30 years.  I have done this through many guises, as a front-line employee and as someone later in my career who influences the governance within local authorities and services.

Those who influence how communities deliver their services are servants, they may be highly educated, they may be influences who have the ability to make decisions but ultimately their goals, their aims, their ethics and values should always have a central piece that understands to the core of their being that they are servants and that they are key elements to the most vulnerable people having the ability and choice to thrive.

All the work I have ever done has been based on one principal that we all should have the right to choose to the best of our ability, without harming others, the way in which we want to live our life and to be allowed the same choice as anyone we share our community with.

PERSONAL STATEMENT – PHILIPP TANSER – PARITY UK

After having attended the first “Walking for Men and Boys” in London, I am proud to be one of the organisers of “Walking for men and Boys” in Edinburgh.

In 2012 I moved from Germany to Scotland, based on my deep felt love for the country. Scotland is a welcoming and open country and the Scottish people are honest and often support each other. But despite all of Scotlands beauty, there are pressing issues that need to be addressed. Homelessness, Health and Mental Health, Suicide, Addiction, Fatherlessness, Education, Unemployment, Domestic Abuse… and while there is luckily a lot of support offered for women and girls to help them thrive, there is very little help for Men and Boys to be found.

As a young man I saw and experienced discrimination towards people of the LGBT community, friends with disabilities and people that didn’t fit “the norm”. I always stood up for them and at times risked my safety to protect others. The one group that I failed to “see” were men. Even though I lost friends to suicide, had countless conversations with friends who fought for or had already lost their children in custody battles, even though I talked to many homeless guys, I failed to see the obvious: Men need HELP!

Raising awareness of men’s issues is complimentary to the awareness of issues women and girls face. After all we are friends, partners, family and if one side suffers, so does the other.

I co-founded the organisation Gender Parity UK to work towards a society that treats all people fairly and cares as much about the lived experience of men and boys as the lived experience of women and girls. To us, the future is UNITED.

 

CONTACT DETAILS – GET IN TOUCH VIA ADVANTAGE PR TO PROFILE OR INTERVIEW SALLY OR PHILIPP:
MEDIA CONTACT DETAILS – Clare Graham, Advantage PR Ltd, 07879 682339, email Clare@advantagepr.co.uk.