The member ballot for our proposed new sections is now scheduled to go out in April, and this blog post by Martin Seager (with the assistance of Dr John Barry) lays out six reasons to vote for a Male Psychology Section.
1/ Inclusivity. Men and boys make up half of the human spectrum, and if we are to promote human health and well-being in a fully informed way, psychologists must study the full spectrum of the human condition. A BPS Section will help to achieve this.
2/ Diversity. Gender is not just about equality but also diversity. Gender differences are as important as other differences within the human spectrum, such as age, ethnicity, disability, religious beliefs and culture.
3/ Humanity. Men, women and children live together in families, communities and societies across the world. If psychology is about understanding and promoting all the factors which promote well-being for all, then psychologists will be better informed by studying male behaviour and the masculine side of human relationships and interactions. This can only be beneficial to society as a whole.
4/ Empathy. Men and boys also have problems and issues relating to their gender e.g. suicide, addiction, rough sleeping, low life expectancy, deaths at work, risk-taking, imprisonment, educational underperformance… the list goes on. The BPS is an influential body that can improve public health, well-being, compassion and understanding in these areas. Having a male psychology section will help focus minds and energies, both within our profession and beyond.
5/ Science. Psychological science is about challenging untested assumptions and prejudices about human behaviour in all its forms, and replacing these with an evidence base of genuine understanding. This is as true in the field of Male Psychology as it is anywhere else, and a BPS Section would help promote better research and teaching on these issues both within the profession of psychology and outside it. Achieving better science around the male gender will achieve better outcomes for everyone.
6 Leading Change. The BPS can set an example to our wider society by being a true pioneer and a beacon of science and humanity, recognising the full spectrum of humanity. This means developing a new evidence-base and new ways of responding to the problems that affect men and boys, and leading the way for other important institutions and bodies to follow suit. For the BPS, this could also mean the challenge of looking at why there is such a gender imbalance in the membership of our profession – why are 80% of clinical psychologists female? Why does psychology as a career or vocation appeal less interested to males? As yet there is also very little teaching on male gender issues within curricula approved by the BPS – a male psychology section would help to achieve a more comprehensive, informed and balanced training culture for psychology students and trainees.
In summary, we believe that a vote for a male psychology section would be a positive move in tune with the founding principles of the BPS itself.