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Why Modern Men Are Struggling and What We Can Do About It with Richard Reeves

A practical, realistic proposals to create a world that would be better and fairer for everyone

We hear a lot about the patriarchy and how women’s fight for real equality is yet to be won. We hear far less about how modern men are struggling – how they are losing ground in the labour market, falling behind in education and increasingly missing out on family life. Two out of three ‘deaths of despair’ are among men, either from suicide or an overdose. 

According to bestselling author and former head of Demos Richard Reeves, we need a new model of masculinity, one that allows us to hold two thoughts in our head at once: we can care deeply about women’s rights and be compassionate towards vulnerable boys and men. 

As Reeves explained when he came to Intelligence Squared to talk about his new book Of Boys and Men, previous attempts to treat the condition of men have made the same fatal mistake – they have viewed the problems of men as a problem with men. It is not a matter of fixing individual men, he argued, but of addressing the deep structural challenges that are disadvantaging men. And he showed how both sides of the political divide are getting men wrong – the progressive Left because it dismisses legitimate concerns about men and pathologises ’toxic masculinity’, and the populist Right because it weaponises male discontent and promotes the view that the only way to help men is to turn back the clock and restore traditional gender roles. 

Praise for Richard Reeves’s Of Boys and Men

‘As a feminist who is deeply committed to gender equality and a mother of two young men, I highly recommend Of Boys and Men. Richard Reeves both affirms the experience of so many parents of boys and puts it into broader national and global context’ – Anne-Marie Slaughter, CEO, New America and author of Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family

‘If you have a son, or might ever want to hire or marry someone else’s son, you should want boys to succeed, and you should read this powerful and important book’ – Jonathan Haidt, NYU-Stern School of Business

Courageous, compelling, and urgently needed’ – Carole Hooven, Harvard University and author of Testosterone: The Story of the Hormone that Dominates and Divides Us


For the motion

Richard Reeves

Senior Fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution, in Washington D.C. and author of Of Boys and Men: Why modern men are struggling, why this matters, and what to do about it

Senior Fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution, in Washington D.C.. A transplanted Brit, his former roles include Director of Strategy to the Deputy Prime Minister, and Director of the think-tank Demos. In 2017, Politico magazine named him one of the top 50 thinkers in the US for his work on class and inequality. His previous books are Dream Hoarders, which was a ‘Book of the Year’ in The Economist and The Observer, and John Stuart Mill: Victorian Firebrand, which was shortlisted for the James Tait Black Prize. His latest book is Of Boys and Men: Why modern men are struggling, why this matters, and what to do about it.

Tomiwa Owolade

Writer and Critic

Writer and critic. He is a contributing writer at the New Statesman. He has also written for many other publications, including The Times, The Sunday Times, and The Financial Times. His book, This is Not America, will be published in 2023.