LONDON, ONT. -- It’s time for men and boys to begin championing gender equality.

That was the message renowned author Michael Kaufman delivered to a group of 30 men, women and teenage males at Western University’s Faculty of Education on Thursday.

The author of ‘The Time Has Come: Why Men must join the Gender Equality Revolution’ says women have been championing gender equality on their own, and it’s time men became part of the conversation.

“The first thing that is critical to men is to support the changes that are taking place. You know to do it out of the love for women in their lives…To say ‘as a man of course I support equal rights.'”

Kaufman himself is not new to the struggle for gender equality. In 1991 he co-founded the White Ribbon Campaign with the late politician Jack Layton.

What he found through that experience is that men benefit from gender equality as much as women. That’s because society’s expectations of what it means to be a man tend to weigh on males.

“We know that we see men end up dying younger. Men end up taking their lives more frequently than women. And they're more likely to be addicted to alcohol and other drugs, involved in violence, depressed and so forth.”

It’s a message that resonated with 17-year-old Tyler Cadorna, who took part in the discussion.

“It's weird. Whenever you say gender equality you usually think about the women. And it's interesting how Kaufman sort of de-emphasizes this into, 'No, no, we have to focus on both male and female. Both are important.'”

Kaufman also believes that older men, even with their values long-ingrained, are equally as capable at making the change as younger, more impressionable men.

That’s because men reassess their values as they get older, he says, “Particularly men of my generation - they weren't doing half of the child care - they missed out on something.”

Kaufman is also scheduled to speak at the Thames Valley District School Board Education Centre.