I placed a post on The Real Double D’s of Life – Death and Dying Conference the other day and got some interesting results in the way of larger numbers. I looked further into who had responded and was again reminded of the significant gender gap in the ‘business’ of death and dying.
Of the over 5,200 of those engaged with the post 96% were female! Only 4% were men. More than half the women, 56.3%, were between the ages of 35 and 55 with the largest segment being women between the ages of 45 to 55.
Over and over again I am shown the huge gender gap that exists in this very important facet of our community services. I am not sure why it is this way, and I don’t think the whys are important at this point. To me what is important is twofold:
1) Are the boys, young men, and mature men getting the grief and loss services in the ‘language’ they understand? Are they getting support in an environment that works for them?
2) How does the hospice movement address this gap? From the service delivery side? From attracting male volunteers?
Now, the good news in all this is we all know exactly whom to talk with about death and dying – our target audience is clear. As social entrepreneurs this is great information and enables us to connect with the very people who are interested in my topic. Yeah!
Being a man though, the deeper issue is the ‘language’ of grief – are we speaking to boys and men in a language that they understand, and in an environment that works for them. Or have we assumed that men and women, boys and girls grieve the same way.
Lets check and see.