Press release 9 July 2020

Equal compassion for men

Human rights associations criticize Empathy Gap towards men

Berlin. „Politics and the media treat the fates of women and men differently,“ says writer Gunnar Kunz, calling for an end to this double moral standard. In doing so, he can count on support from the human rights associations celebrating Gender Empathy Gap Day for the third time on 11 July 2020.

Society denies men any sympathy, even though they die five years earlier than women, make up by far the largest number of homeless people and are twice as likely to be victims of non-domestic violence. However, the responsible Federal Ministry takes interest almost exclusively in women.

As a day of remembrance, 11 July symbolises this Empathy Gap as it reminds us of the Srebrenica massacre, commemorated this year for the 25th time. At the time Bosnian Serb units murdered eight thousand men and boys, while women and small children were brought to safety by the UN.

Crimes like this would not be possible if the United Nations took human rights for women and men equally seriously. The media in Germany were similarly one-sided in their reports; for example, the abduction of a hundred girls by the terrorist group Boko Haram in 2014 provoked general outrage whereas the abduction, torture and murder of ten thousand boys by the same terrorist group received hardly any mention.

A current example of this double standard is the way in which the Corona crisis has been dealt with: while twice as many men as women die, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs chiefly propagates the cliché of the violent man. At the same time, fathers who owe alimony are left to fend for themselves in coping with the loss of income arising from quarantine measures.

Double standards, then and now. However, the credibility of modern gender politics needs be assessed by the extent to which politics and society are able to show men the same compassion as women. This will require a general rethink. The commemoration day provides an impetus for this.

Translation assistance by Tom Todd, original german version