How Feminism (and NOW) have Helped Men

To celebrate Father’s Day, we at NOW wanted to highlight the many ways in which everyone in our society – yes, including men – have benefited from the feminist movement.

Though the feminist movement primarily focuses on ending discrimination against women, the policies that the movement has fought for has and continues to help change the lives of men for the better. How you ask?

Let’s look at a few of the ways in which men have benefited from feminist activism:roe36b 003

LGBT rights are women’s and men’s rights

Feminist groups have fought and continue to fight for LGBTQ equality.

Feminist groups pushed for an end to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’, and they continue to push for equal marriage rights across the entire nation.

In 1987, NOW’s “Campaign to Free Sharon Kowalski” successfully brought attention to the rights of lifetime partners in making medical decisions for each other. That same year, NOW also participated in organizing the National Gay and Lesbian Rights March that drew hundreds of thousands to D.C., positively affecting all members of the LGBTQ community, including men.

In 1991 NOW demanded fair hiring practices after employees were fired from Cracker Barrel Country Stores because of their sexual orientation.

Changes in sexual mores

When feminist groups changed the norms of sexual behavior, it benefitted men as well. In addition, the accessibility of birth control allows men with female partners to decide when or if they have children.

Ending sexual and domestic violence

Feminism has fought against sexual violence, including sexual violence against men. Feminists fought to change the federal definition of rape to include male victims, they fought for the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003, and they continue to fight to end sexual violence in the military.

In 1994, NOW was a leader in the fight to pass the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Though the law includes women in its title, VAWA protects male victims of domestic violence.

NOW fought to expand the definition of hate crimes to include all identities. That includes men of color, LGBT men, Jewish men, Muslim men, etc.

Ending discrimination in the work place

Feminism fought for an end to gendered segregation at work and in school. Because of this men can be nurses and primary school educators.

Since 1972, NOW has been a proponent of Title IX, legislation that bans all forms of gender discrimination in federally funded schools, making it so that boys and girls have equal access to education. Title IX prohibits the sexual harassment of any student, boys included.

Better family policies, for men and women

NOW fought for the Family and Medical Leave Act, which allows for as much as 12 weeks of unpaid leave during a 12 month period in order to care for a family member or loved one. We are still fighting for paid leave and trying to pass the FAMILY Act.

NOW advocates for comprehensive immigration reform that will keep families united.

Economic justice for all

Feminists have long fought for economic justice for both women and men.

NOW advocates for raising the minimum wage to at least $10.00, but above all wants the minimum wage to be a living wage. Now has also fought to raise the minimum tipped wage from its woefully inadequate $2.13.

NOW campaigned against Social Security cuts that would have been devastating for some of our most vulnerable citizens. NOW also advocates for a credit under Social Security that would recognize child care years for both men and women.

14 Responses to “How Feminism (and NOW) have Helped Men”

  1. Mark

    Hello to Whom it May Concern,

    I am a member of the United States Marine corps and have been for over 10 years. I have been a UVA, Uniformed Victim Advocate for over two years running and I would like to say thank you for your continued efforts and triumphs! I had no idea that this organization existed and also has such a strong presence and influence on many policies concerning Sexual Assault that I gladly, and with much zeal inform and teach Marines of all ranks. Keep up the good work and soon my time will end in this organization that I love but maybe I could find another calling within yours.

    Respectfully SSgt Bean

  2. Yousuf Farhan

    Thank you for your article. NOW is the only.feminist organization worth supporting. However, I would also like to know if the Violence Against Women Act is just it’s unofficial or official name. Because honestly I find the name quite stereotypical. Furthermore, can you please list some reasons why you think feminism us still needed. Thank you.

  3. Bill

    Didn’t you guys advocate AGAINST fathers getting equal parenting time to mothers? How exactly did that help men again?

  4. Gary Costanza

    NOW has never helped men and continue to fight against men’s rights. NOW is against shared parenting, for starters.

  5. Mark

    There is a lot missing here:

    NOW has consistently lobbied in favor of continuing lifetime alimony provisionsin several states, clearly a sexist practice that exploits men and disincentivizes women to work out of the home. 94% of those who receive the ~$10,000,000,000 in alimony paid every year in the US are women.

    NOW has consistently lobbied against presumptive, rebuttable joint custody legislation that would enable children in divorced families to have two loving parents, instead, putting children at the tremendous risk that growing up in a fatherless home brings. This is an especially critical issue in military families.

    NOW has lobbied aggressively to reduce dues process provisions and broaden the definition of “sexual assault” at universities and colleges nationwide, putting young men at risk at institutions of higher learning across the US. This aggressive sexism continues despite the objections of prominent legal scholars across the country.

    These actions alone have greatly harmed and stereotyped men. By no stretch of the imagination have they even remotely “helped” men.

  6. Susan

    You should be more clear that you’re fighting against women abusing men physically, sexually, and emotionally. Your mention of prison rape and the way you phrase things makes it sound like you think men usually only victims from male offenders, when there’s plenty of data to show tens of thousands of men are physically and sexually abused by women.

  7. Sean Murray Rothbard

    Most if not all of that stuff listed could be said to benefit men, however it only did so tangentially, as a result of your desire to benefit women. If NOW and feminism really had a core desire to stop the suffering and oppression of men, you would have been able to list your opposition to the Selective Service Draft Register, which limits the freedoms of men and seriously penalizes them for refusing to sign up for military conscription. As you can see because this does not affect women NOW has not listed it here.

    You have also not been able to list any opposition to male circumcision, which is comparable to type IV FGM which has been made illegal. Many infants suffer disfigurement and even death as a result of unnecessary circumcision that has been botched, especially withing the orthodox jewish community where children have died as a result of herpes transmitted during the traditional procedure.

    You would also have been able to list some strong opposition to the lack of fathers rights in the USA, as it is a clear case of discrimination and oppression when men financially ruined yet given no right to equally contact with their own child. For a fathers day themes article I find this especially poignant.

  8. Mike

    Actually, if the truth were told, there is absolutely nothing that feminism does or is that helps men out in any way, shape or form. Just because you say otherwise, does in NO WAY make it a fact. It is easy to lie in cyberspace, where few will actually do the research to verify supposed facts.

  9. Reason

    “Feminist groups have fought and continue to fight for LGBTQ equality.”

    So feminists fight for women’s rights unless it is for gay rights? Seems more like a gay rights group thing, but maybe the lines are blurred. In any event, it was because the men were gay, not because they were men. Otherwise, you’d think that if women’s rights activists were interested in men, something would’ve been done about the male suicide rate or their diminishing grades in school and all that.

    In other words, this reads like a list of collateral benefit.

    • Jeff

      It seems you didn’t get past the first example.

      “Feminists fought to change the federal definition of rape to include male victims, they fought for the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003, and they continue to fight to end sexual violence in the military.”

  10. Steph

    Listed here are men who have never done jack shit for anyone in activism of any kind complaining that women have not fought hard enough for MEN’S rights. When feminism came around, was it a bunch of women complaining that men hadn’t lobbied for women’s suffrage? NO. THEY WENT OUT AND DID IT.

    Bunch of bitter Mcdonalds employees sitting on their couch with their cheetos and their laptops telling other people how to fight for their rights.


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