What’s up with men? Why are men shunning volunteerism?

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series What's up with men?

NOTE FROM DR. WAYNE BAKER: This week, we welcome back our popular contributing columnist Terry Gallagher. This is the fourth column in this series …


Volunteer in Chief: One of the nation’s biggest cheerleaders for volunteerism is President Obama, who rolls up his sleeves each year on holidays like Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday.

Yesterday’s post discussed some of the risks and challenges facing teenage boys today—in short, they’re far more likely to die than girls the same age.

And if our society wants better men—men who are more productive, and especially less violent—we really need to do something to help our boys grow up.

But who’s going to set the examples and do the mentoring and role modeling that will be necessary? Who’s going to coach the boys’ soccer teams and run scouting programs?

Sad to say, it might not be adult men. Men are far less likely than women to serve as volunteers, according to data released earlier this year by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While volunteerism declined for both women and men last year (continuing a decade-long trend), women still showed a decided edge: 28.4 percent of women compared to 22.2 percent of men.

“Women continued to volunteer at a higher rate than did men across all age groups, educational levels, and other major demographic characteristics,” according to the report.

Actually, men might be hurting themselves by shunning volunteerism, according to a spokesman for a federal agency that was one of the sponsors of the BLS survey.

“By giving back, volunteers gain new skills, expand professional networks, stay connected to their community, and experience physical and mental health benefits,” she said. “As the federal agency dedicated to this issue, we hope to find ways for all Americans to get involved in service.”

Hear that, guys?

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS THIS SUMMER: In recent years, Terry Gallagher has written about a wide range of topics; you can read more than 100 of his past columns by clicking on this link. We invite you to comment (below) or to share this column on Facebook (use the blue-“f” icons).

Capitalism: Is it working for you?

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series Capitalism
Artist and activist Steve Lambert designed the interactive Capitalism installation to let people express their confidence as well as their complaints. Click this image to visit Lambert's website, where he also has posted videos about the project.

Artist and activist Steve Lambert designed the interactive Capitalism installation. Click this image to visit Lambert’s website, where he also has posted videos about the project.

QUICK! Does capitalism work you? Yes or no?

If you’re in Times Square this week, you can register your vote at an interactive art project. If you are not in New York City—please register your vote here by leaving a comment!

Artist and activist Steve Lambert’s installation “Capitalism: It works for me!” began yesterday in New York City’s Times Square, and runs through October 9. The lighted display invites passersby to press a green or red button, registering their vote “true” or “false.” Updated totals are shown on the display. Voters can also video record their comments and thoughts.

If you were in Times Square, how would you vote? Would you say that capitalism is working for you? Or not working for you?

Most Americans say that our system of capitalism is working, according to a 2013 Public Religion Research Institute survey. But only 9% say it is working very well. About 45% say American capitalism is working somewhat. Twenty-six percent say our economic system is not working too well, with an additional 16% saying that it is not working at all well.

Not surprisingly, Americans who make a lot of money are much more likely to say the system is working, compared to those who make little money. Even so, almost half (47%) of Americans with annual household incomes of $30,000 or less says that our economic system is working well.

Why is capitalism working? Among those who believe it is, the main reason they give is that it encourages personal responsibility (33%). Others say it is working because it provides equal opportunities for all (29%), or that it promotes individual freedom (24%).

Why is capitalism NOT working? Among those who say it isn’t working, the main reason is that it encourages greed (34%). Others say that it does not provide opportunities for all (28%), or that it creates poverty (14%). Only 4% say it is not working well because of too much government regulation.

Does capitalism work for you?

If yes, why?

If no, why not?

Please, take a moment to add a Comment, below. And invite friends to read along. Use the blue-”f” Facebook icon or the small envelope-shaped email icon.