Introduction

Proposal for a White House Council on Boys and Men

The proposal for a White House Council on Boys and Men was originally inspired by a discussion initiated by the White House Boards and Commissions Director Joanna Martin to Dr. Warren Farrell, inquiring of his interest in advising the White House Council on Women and Girls, given his background with the National Organization for Women. Shortly after, Dr. Farrell created a multi-partisan Commission of thirty-four prominent authors, educators, researchers and practitioners to accomplish three goals: investigate the status of boys and their journey into manhood; identify both surface and underlying problems confronting boys and men; create a blueprint toward solutions. This proposal is the result.1

Although the Commission is diverse, we have in common at least two beliefs: first, the desire to support the progress made by our daughters in the recent past, and to continue that into the distant future. To this end, we desire for the White House Council on Boys and Men to work parallel to and co-operatively with the already-formed White House Council on Women and Girls.

Second, the Commission members share the belief that our daughters and sons are in the same boat. Therefore, if just one sex wins, both sexes lose.

The more closely our Commission investigated, the more concerned we became with the crisis our sons, fathers, and men currently face. It is a crisis as ubiquitous yet invisible today as our financial crisis was in early 2007.

We will first identify the five major components of the crisis—each with potential solutions. As with the financial crisis, real answers require more than putting out fires. So we conclude by fundamentally re-thinking the journey from boy to man in the past, with an aim to preserve the best and modify the rest.

First, then, the five major components of the crisis:

1. The Education of our Sons
2. The Emotional Health of our Sons
3. Children without Dads; Dads without Children
4. The Crisis of Boys’ and Men’s Physical Health
5. The Future of Work, and of Boys and Men at Work