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Monday, 19 March, 2001, 11:30 GMT
Do European men need a ministry of their own?
The MALE Austrian Women's Affairs Minister, Herbert Haupt, has said that men are coming under increasing social pressure, such as discrimination by female colleagues at work.

Meanwhile in Germany the Family Minister has launched a multimedia campaign to persuade men to take advantage of new legislation, which helps them to go part-time at work and to spend more time bringing up their children.

The Ministry claims that men want to spend more time with their families, and that this is a trend that will grow and grow in the 21st Century.

So, do Europe's men need this kind of guidance or support from the state? And do men, faced with work, family and social pressures, have too much to cope with?

Europe Today presenter Katya Adler put these questions to Franco Pavoncello, a professor at John Cabott University in Rome, and to Olivier Plas, a businessman in Copenhagen.

A selection of your comments will be read out on Europe Today on the BBC World Service Mondays to Thursdays at 1729 GMT.

HAVE YOUR SAY

How many more ministries do we need?

Rob Holman, UK
How many more ministries do we need? I think there are already far too many 'all expenses paid' bureaucrats being chauffeur-driven around Europe at our expense. If there was more evidence of their achievements, maybe I would feel differently. If European men are unable to cope, then they should think about changing their lifestyles on an individual basis if necessary.
Rob Holman, UK

I've never heard such rubbish! This is typical of the EU and Europe's out of control urge to create bureaucracy!
ACC, Britain

We've got one. It's called the pub. End of story!
Mark B, UK

At last! Women woke up 40 years ago to the fact that "traditional " role models were totally outmoded and in fact harmful, but men are STILL stuck with them. No educated person would dream of bringing their daughter up to be quiet, submissive and unquestioning because "that's the woman's role", but little boys are still bludgeoned with "you must be tough, you have to win, and you are NOT ALLOWED TO FAIL!" This "traditional role" is just as crippling as that once forced upon women, and we see the results in marital violence and psychological disturbance. Can't we all do a re-think and develop some enabling, nurturing strategies for ALL human beings?
Stephen James, UK

Why not have a minister of the sexes dealing with the issues of both sexes and then non of the politically-correct brigade can complain.
James Clarke, UK


Not every issue of life should be under the protection of a ministry

Florent, Belgium
Any type of minority claims should be taken into account, but please let's not have Europe fall into political correctness paranoia. Not every issue of life should be under the protection of a ministry. Discrimination is already punished by law.
Florent, Belgium

No one can doubt that women were once in a disadvantageous social position as compared to men. And I would not dispute that society has improved, and may improve further, as a result of greater equality. However, the question whether men are now the victims of a reverse discriminatory trend in certain cases is a legitimate one and society should not be browbeaten into avoiding it. A different question is whether we need a whole government agency to deal with these matters. My answer is, no.
Peter, Netherlands

The pressure on both men and women has increased dramatically in the last fifteen years. In the meantime the relationship between the sexes is worse than before. I accept the new generation are much brighter than the past but not bright enough to resolve this problem.
Shan Mylvaganam, Ceylon/ UK

The men of Europe should become more feminised so that there won't be war, women won't be beaten and children will be safe. I support whatever programmes there are to speed the way for this to occur.
Morgan Prain, USA

While discrimination is less of an issue for us blokes, I think there may be more merit to this idea than meets the eye, such as the promotion of part-time work for fathers who wish to spend more time with their families etc, and perhaps the examination of our changing role in society.
Michael Gahan, Ireland

Not enough time? Europeans have more paid vacations than anyone else on the planet. Most European men have plenty of time to spend with their families, and if the 6-8 weeks paid vacation time isn't enough, then at night and on weekends, spend more time with the wife and family, than at the pub with the lads.
Stephen Kenney, USA

No thanks, it just sounds like another 'Ministry of Interfering Bureaucrats' to me. We've got too many of those already.
Michael, Netherlands

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