Mediation needs men.

Explanations for this phenomenon have included: women (by nature or nurture) are better listeners; tend to gravitate toward helping professions; are disproportionately more represented in volunteer work in general; and are just more inclined toward peacebuilding than menfolk.  (The righteous men who are on board with us defy these stereotypes.)

On the national and international stage, menfolk have gotten their share of limelight in the peacebuilding biz, — e.g. Carter, Holbrooke, Gandhi, MLK, and so on.  And there’s no shortage of maleness among our thought leaders — Fisher, Ury, Kloke, Noll, Mayer, Bush, etc.  But this male presence doesn’t fully flow over to the community practice level.

There are indeed great organizations out there that aim to redefine what “masculinity” is all about.  A Call to Men (www.acalltomen.com) and Men Can Stop Rape (www.mencanstoprape.org) are two non-profits I really admire, in their missions to mobilize men to take responsibility for preventing gender-based violence.  Let’s get more men mediating on the ground.  CeaseFire Chicago  (www.ceasefirechicago.org) seems to have figured this out, as we see in the fabulous film The Interrupters  (interrupters.kartemquin.com).

Having never participated in many stereotypically male activities (sports, fraternities, listening to Rush), I’m somewhat bereft of creative ways of getting dudes on board.  Suggestions welcome, as I haven’t had much success with catchphrases such as  Mediation: Like a cage match — without the cage, or Mediators Beyond Thunderdome.  

A little help here, fellas?

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