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Coffee House

There’s cause to worry about our sons as well as our daughters

2 May 2014

3:41 PM

2 May 2014

3:41 PM

The graph below shows one of the most unsettling trends I’ve come across. It’s the female and male suicide rates, and while the former has halved since the 1980s, the latter has fallen by just 8 per cent. Men account for 77 per cent of all suicides, and the group now most likely to take their lives are men aged 40-44.

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These are the starkest statistics in what I argue in this week’s magazine is a ‘crisis of masculinity’ in our country. There are male-specific problems ranging from catastrophic mental health conditions to boys falling behind girls at every stage of their education. Men get ahead in the workplace only because women are forced by high childcare costs to leave. That’s not true equality, is it?

This isn’t about a battle of the sexes: identifying a crisis of masculinity doesn’t mean that women don’t still suffer many problems in British society. Both problems can exist at once, and the reason for highlighting the crisis is not to argue that we should feel ‘most sorry’ for any particular group, but that there are serious reasons to worry about our sons when often our culture tells us we should fret about our daughters.

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