Among the issues raised at the National Congress for Men:
Keynoter Fredric Hayward of Men's Rights, Inc.:
"We must not be seen as reversing the progress of women -- we must offer to accelerate it. For example, I do not want to stop women from going out and finding high-paying jobs. I want to demand that women go out and find high-paying jobs. I am tired of being their wallet."
"Can you imagine how fast the draft would end if it subjected 18-year-old girls to being snatched from their homes and sent off to be terrorized and dehumanized?"
"I know how we could solve the day-care problem for working women. When every girl reaches the age of 18, she should be forced to work in a day-care center for two years. Girls are better prepared for that role than boys, and there are enough of them to do the job."
"If women want to raise the issue of what is the value of a wife's unpaid labor, don't fight it. What would you pay someone who agreed that if he was ever with you when you were attacked, he would intervene . . . to give you time to escape? What is the hourly wage for a bodyguard? That is your job, you know, every time you are with a women. . . . Men have not begun to investigate our own unpaid roles."
Psychologist Mel Roman, director of family studies, Albert Einstein College of Medicine:
"Divorce is not the death of the family.Where children are involved, it is the reorganiztion of the family. That is not a small point. Parents are parents forever."
A child's loss of the father in divorce "is traumatic," bringing on "depression." The child "goes through mourning. We see the effects -- nightmares, behavioral difficulties at school, problems at home."
Mothers who gain sole custody often "are overburdened by the responsibility of single parenting. Eighty-five percent of divorced single mothers have to work. They struggle into the workforce when they're upset, when the children are upset. The kids are needing and demanding. The cycle goes down and down, to no one's interest."
"Children who have had the best parenting are suffering most." If the father's an alcoholic, the loss is not so great and there is "a reduction of tension at home. But if it's a loving father, then there is serious depression at losing that love."
"People are divorcing for lesser reasons. Children are losing loving parents."
"Our society so stigmatizes women who want joint custody. But they're really giving their children something. They're giving their children that other parent."