I’m a men’s health promoter working out of Christchurch and have some reflections after reading the discussions about the Cartwright report.

I’m staggered at times by the difference in response by health and social systems to men’s and women’s needs, despite there being arguably worse health and social outcomes overall for men.

I point to the rich legacy of Women’s Health Centres and Women’s Support Centres around the country over the last 20 years. I note the health promotion campaigns run through the community that are targeted wholly at women (see Appetite for Life), or framed to be less accessible by men (Green Prescription). I’m staggered when I see a “Parent’s” Breast-Feeding programme, and a migrant/refugee health programme that is once again wholly for women.

I came in late to seeing the current social work/ health promotion environment, but it’s hard for me not to conclude that a lot of advocacy has occurred for women to get these services, and that the Cartwright Report was one plank in that advocacy, regardless of whether it was valid or not.

So, I’ll acknowledge in my sympathy for men, being smug to see the report challenged, and at the same time uncomfortable with having that response. I wish a skeptical eye had been put onto all of the public money spent on our health and social dollar and am glad that the NZS took this one on.

Donald Pettitt
Canterbury Men’s Centre,

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