A comment from Steve Glaister, RTBI National President 2014 - 2015
I often thought that Round Table would never get Press support.
Why? Because of what we are. An organisation that is male only and has an upper age limit. These parameters define us and makes Round Table what it is.
But we all know that this not very PC in a world that is very PC! Even golf realised that when the Royal & Ancient Golf Club finally took a vote to allow women into the club. Some valiant Tablers took to the airwaves and tried to defend the indefensible of single sex clubs, because, however much we try protest, someone will have the moral high ground with the facts that we discriminate, which we do.
The standard replies are ‘What about the Women’s Institute? Women only gyms? The Girl Guides? These are single sex’.
While illustrating these groups do likewise is not a trump card in our favour because, like us, these organisations discriminate as well. Just because someone else does it, doesn’t make it right. The moral high ground is against them as well.
However, as Bob Dylan sang – The Times They Are A Changin!
From time to time the Press do run the odd story supporting our stance. But at the tail end of 2014 it hit a peak as The Telegraph ran two chest-thumping articles in the same week!
‘Men need nights out with the lads, scientists say’ boomed the headline following research into the behaviour of male macaques by scientists at the University of Gottingen, Germany.
In essence, the study showed that male bonding reduces stress levels as opposed to time with a partner or family.
The news every lad, bloke, gent wants to hear. So the story went viral. The excuse and pitch that was needed. Join Round Table to reduce stress (ahem!)
This was followed by a comment piece from former Loaded editor Martin Daubney entitled ‘Why we need more men-only spaces’. It was penned on the back of a barber banning women from his shops in the north west.
Daubney said: “I have a dream: that one day, men will be free to go to a place where we can talk, free from judgement or persecution, about the important issues in life.
“Men having a constructive dialogue about Masculinity’s Big Issues is too important to get mired in political correctness. We need more men-only spaces, not less.”
As Tablers we do talk about beer, sport, cars, broadband speeds, gaming etc. However, we do trip over the serious points. I have been in conversations which have ended - “no seriously mate, you need to get that checked out”.
There are further conversations about parenting, financial issues and business concerns. These are not conversations that dominate a business meeting, but happen in small groups or in the car on the way to or from an event.
On a serious note, and highlighted by Daubney, mental health charity CALM recently reported that male suicide is at a 15-year high and is the biggest killer of men aged between 20-49. Occasionally we need to talk and not get mired in political correctness.
Both these articles mirrored what Round Table does. We are a community organisation, we are an activity based organisation, but believe me, we are also our own health club, our own safe place and our own support group.
Read the articles