Officer for gentlemen rejected

November 24, 1995

An attempt by university students in Victoria to create Australia's first "men's officer" position has been defeated following cries of outrage by women's groups.

Although intended by its advocates to "celebrate the male gender", the idea was condemned by female students. A women's officer with the National Union of Students, Michelle MacDonald, described the move as a "slap in the face to every women's organisation in the world".

A draft job description for the post said it included addressing men's health problems, homosexuality, workforce childcare, and fatherhood matters.

The proposal was put forward at one of Deakin University's country campuses but a packed student meeting rejected the plan after heated debate. The student council, however, agreed to the setting up of a "men's awareness collective" to discuss discrimination.

Women make up almost 70 per cent of the students on the campus and the student who created the storm, Kane Goldsworthy, says he proposed the scheme to redress the gender imbalance. Mr Goldsworthy said there were real problems for young men on campus, ranging from health issues such as drugs and alcohol to sexual harassment.

The plan for a men's officer was in line with growing concern in Australia at the state of men's health and the problems confronting young males at school and university.

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