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Ladies only!

A common phrase within the military spouse environment and one that male military spouses have to put up with all the time.


We've recently moved to Shrivenham (my wife is on a course at the Defence Academy) and I was told all good stuff about the place, how much there is to do for the spouses and how inclusive it is! I was genuinely quite excited to come here.


HOWEVER...


The first event invite we got through the post was to an 'ice breaker' dinner, a great chance to meet the community and 'break the ice' BUT the invite was only for women.


I sent a message asking why it was only for females and if there was anything for the male military spouses so that we could also 'break the ice' and meet people within the community.


The answer was that they're open to ideas that would include the men... Brilliant.


The second event I saw was a Ladies bingo night, it says on the poster - 'Specifically for female spouses of the Defence Academy'


Another inclusive night out!


I don't really get why a bingo night needs to be assigned to a specific gender but on this occasion it was, I mean I love bingo lol.


Now, when I bought this one up, I was asked... "Well, why don't you just do a male spouses bingo night?"


In my opinion that would be defeating the point and would isolate the male spouses even more.


I'm lucky that I have young children because there are quite a few parent and toddler groups that are on throughout the week.


I can't go to the 'mummy' and me yoga or any of the other mummy specific groups, but at least there are some that I can go to.


One in particular that my children love is the music class, they look forward to going every week and it's free! Everyone's a winner...


Unless of course, your a dad who is a little shy, because the class is full of women, I'm the only man there every week and to some men, that could be pretty intimidating and enough to make them not want to go.


I really feel for the male military spouses here who don't have children because they must feel really isolated, especially if they're far away from their family and friends back home.


Sadly, I think this is why the male spouses just don't turn up to anything... Because they don't feel welcome.


I've tried to fight this inclusivity battle for a few years now and even though my blogs get a lot of attention and coverage, things still aren't really changing...


Quite often things change for a brief time, usually when I write a blog or kick up a fuss but then it dies back down and things creep back to the way they always were before us annoying male spouses started turning up.


The men have a part to play as well though, I'm not letting 'us' off the hook that easily... As I've mentioned there is so much stuff that is purely aimed at women and men are 100% not invited, however, for the stuff that is open to all spouses, the male spouses could start turning up.


A great example of this are the coffee mornings, now you either love a coffee morning or you hate them with a passion. I actually quite like them because it's a chance to meet new people and start making connections.


However, out of all the coffee mornings I've been to, I've never seen another man there, apart from the housing representative who always looks like he's seen a ghost, I'm not sure if this is because it's a room full of women or if he's working himself up for the many complaints about to be thrown his way.

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