Sometimes it’s good to stop and consider something that might just be taken for granted.

So this week we are going to do exactly that.

We would like to make the following observation and pose the resulting question. The observation is that more women than men volunteer in Hay River. And, of course, the question naturally is: Why do more women than men volunteer?

Now, we have not done any scientific survey on the issue, but it is pretty obvious that women far outnumber men when it comes to volunteering.

We stopped and thought about that when a photo was submitted to The Hub of the 2018 Hay River Fall Fair Committee. All six members are women. They took up the major challenge of reviving the fall fair, which had not been held in Hay River since 2014.

And we can name many other examples where more women than men are volunteering for any number of community events.

Of course, we’re not at all saying that some men don’t volunteer. In fact, there are first-class volunteers in Hay River who happen to be male.

But their sheer numbers don’t match women. When it comes to volunteering, women are the clear champions.

Honestly, we don’t really know why. All we can do is offer a few possible explanations, even though none of them are really satisfactory.

Perhaps there is something in the female personality that makes women more likely to volunteer. Maybe it’s the maternal instinct extended to the community. (Like we say, these are just possibilities and may not make any sense at all.)

Could it be that women are just more community oriented and enjoy volunteering?

Of course, decades ago we could have suggested that women volunteered to get out of the house when far fewer of them were working outside the home and men did not volunteer because they had jobs and needed to rest up from their labours.

That obviously would have been a completely nonsensical explanation, since the modern world shows that many women now work outside the home and still volunteer more than men.

Men are starting to not look very good when it comes to this volunteering stuff.

But this is not in any way a criticism of men. It’s just a discussion of a curious social phenomenon.

After all, it does not take Sherlock Holmes to figure out this editorial has been written by a male, since The Hub has an editorial staff of one who has nothing to be proud of when it comes to volunteering. No one has ever seen this reporter volunteer for anything in Hay River.

We can’t really explain that.

We can come up with some excuses – we work ridiculously long hours, we need a break, or our free time is too valuable.

But none of those excuses are acceptable, because they could be used by many women who still volunteer their time.

We don’t want to – and can’t – speak for all men, but it’s just difficult to find the time to volunteer when there’s sports to watch on TV.

Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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