Changing nappies, looking after the children and male stereotypes - a new role for man in society.

Once upon a time, men were men and women were grateful. Then in the 1960s and 1970s things began to change with the women's liberation movement, and the battle of the sexes spread to the home.  

Some men have ignored the changes, and others have tried to respond. Many who have attempted change found themselves in seemingly uncharted territory.  

Ultimately in the day to day reality of family life, change boils down to the division of labour in the home. In contrast to previous generations, many men now share parenting and housework, 

Changing the relationship between men and women is a matter of hard, often apparently trivial decisions that need to be made day after day.

Senator Brendan Ryan says that many men in his generation are not equipped to deal with the challenges of family life. For someone who had long been an advocate for equality in society, he admits that he had to take a long hard look at himself and his relationship with his wife, 

Equality means equality not out there but in here, in this domestic establishment.

Change for men may be primarily about the way they relate to the women in their lives, but it is also about how they relate to other men. Many of the traditional ways that men socialise mean that views of themselves and women are reinforced, but this is also where changes in attitude can take place,

It’s in those circumstances, that it’s most difficult to challenge, but that’s’s liberation begins, is with each other.

Dermot Carney has been involved with men’s groups in Ireland and England and sees these as a way to help men cope with their changing role in society. He believes the media’s portrayal of the 'new man' excludes rather than encourages men. 

Things are changing in society, albeit slowly, and now issues such as equality, work-life balance and how we communicate with each other at home and in work are being talked about, as 

The question of what a man should be has always in the long run been a question about what a society should be.  

This episode of ‘Open Eye’ was broadcast on 13 March 1990. The reporter is Fintan O'Toole.