A friend of mine posted a challenge to women today on Facebook – to hold back our tongues with the men in our lives, even when that sarcastic comment may be the perfect comeback. Her timing is perfect with the latest affliction of my heart – not giving men enough credit.
Just last week I was attending a conference where a very well-respected and outspoken feminist was sharing her wisdom about women in leadership roles working towards peace. It is true that women are rarely at the negotiating table and much more rare that their signatures make it onto a treaty. It is true that in many positions of management, men still outnumber women. It is true that men still make more than women in many of the same positions. But all of that does not mean that more and more women have not found their day to make a difference and that they have men standing alongside, cheering them on the entire way. Making gross generalizations about men is unfair and unwarranted.
When the world we work in focuses so much of its energy on girls and women as victims and men as the perpetrators, it is really easy to make generalities and think that statements applies to the whole lot. But one of the most significant things I have noticed since taking my role within Traffick Free is how many more men show up to our events. When I first started, the room was overwhelmingly filled with women. It made sense because even just two years ago, human trafficking was considered a women’s issue. But when awareness turned out to be just what we aimed for – men started getting involved. Men really started showing up, not just as someone’s date to an event, but to learn for themselves.
Not only have they shown up, they are taking on leadership roles. At Traffick Free, we have dedicated men serving on both our Board of Directors as well as our leadership team. They are coming up with innovative ideas to reach new audiences, finding us resources to grow the organization, and rolling up their sleeves in the details when needed. So rather than lump all men as horrible human beings that do not think twice about exploiting someone, thank those who are making a difference.
Thank you John, Gerry, Jay, Brooke, Robert, Chris and Jerrad. Your service is making a difference in the fight against human trafficking in the Chicagoland area.
by Laura Ng
Executive Director, External Relations