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Michael Kaufman: Talkin’ ‘Bout A (Gender Equality) Revolution

Michael Kaufman is calling for a revolution – one whose time has come. 

“The last 8,000 years have been about affirmative action for men; we need to accelerate the pace of change,” he says in an interview from his Toronto home. “We need to overturn male-dominated, patriarchal societies not to flip them on their head into female-dominated ones, but to societies of gender equality.” 

And, Kaufman says, men must get on board. 

Kaufman tours the world to bring his message to audiences like the one that attended the Railway Association of Canada’s June 2022 Women in Rail conference. 

“Gender equality is a priority. Be an ally. Be a leader.” 

He says his call to male action is getting increasingly easier. 

“Men are changing on different levels – particularly younger men. They’re reviewing priorities and reevaluating work-life balance. They’re taking bigger roles in child rearing – with many more taking time off to raise kids. Just that is a massive social change. 

“Also, men are seeing the impact of having daughters, wives, sisters – women they live – who have faced discrimination, sexual harassment and sexual violence. They’re thinking about these realities differently.” 

And he adds: “Men are also seeing the benefits of evolving away from male-dominated societies in their own lives. Right now, they’re dying young, they’re more addicted to drugs and alcohol, they end up in jail more often, and they take their lives by suicide more than women. Deconstructing male-dominated societies may allow men to live longer, better lives, too.” 

Kaufman says societal change can’t stop at gender. Gender identity, race, ethnicity, sexuality, physical and other differences must all enter the conversation. Excitedly, he says, “it’s happening” while acknowledging some men still do need a “wake up call.” 

Asked about how his call for gender equality plays out in his personal life, Kaufman – a father of a grown son and daughter – says he and his partner set an early example to not “gender code” jobs and to teach both son and daughter to be fully independent in all ways.  

“My son can cook, clean, nurture, and fix things, shovel snow. My daughter, too.”  

Kaufman says he is seeing change happening more quickly as the business case for gender equality gets built out, even in traditionally male-dominated industries. He believes more people are realizing with each passing month that “this isn’t about collective guilt; it’s about collective gain.”  

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You can buy Michael Kaufman’s latest book, The Time Has Come: Why Men Must Join The Gender Equality Revolution, from your favourite online bookseller and/or sign up for his free newsletter.