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Minister for Men: allies in the UK establishment

Reading Time: 32 minutes

In the past two decades, there has been a growing demand for a Minister for Men. There have even been a few calls within the political elites.

Just because there are more men then women serving as MPs does not mean that men’s issues get raised. Indeed, quite the opposite, as the continuing struggle to have even International Men’s Day treated with the same respect and use that International Women’s Day is treated.

If the UK government is going to differentiate between the sexes, as it has for over twenty years now, why have they decided we should not have an opportunity to investigate and deal with matters relating to men?

The Minister for Men must be at the same level as the Minister for Women. The Women’s Ministry governs the Equalities Ministry, not the other way around. Placing a Men’s Minister subordinate to the Minister for Equalities would be placing the minister under the direction of the Minister for Women, and that is of no use to men and boys.

Lord Northbourne

Lord Northbourne first raised the matter of an equality in politics for men three years after the posts of Minister for Women and junior minister for women had been created during the Labour government run by Tony Blair.

In the Lords, a cross-bencher had a novel solution to youth unemployment. Lord Northbourne wanted a Minister for Men, to “address the gender-related problems of disadvantaged men”. And he was not referring to the eldest sons of hereditary peers. Boys were being eclipsed by girls at school, young men were five times more likely to be arrested than women and three out of four suicides were male.

“What action is the Government going to take to show that it cares more about the 49 per cent of the voters who are men?” Lord Falconer, Minister of State, Cabinet Office, trotted out some statistics about the New Deal but a Minister for Men was out of the question.

The Telegraph, Yesterday in Parliament, 16 June 2000

After another three years, he again pointed out the need for a Minister for Men. Tony Blair’s Labour government again made it tersely clear that they would have nothing to do with political equality for men. By this time, there was one Minister for Women and three junior ministers for women.

In the run up to the UN’s International Women’s Day on 8 March, Lord Northbourne has quizzed the government over how they can sustain an equal opportunities policy that doesn’t treat men the same as women.

The Cabinet has a minister for women in Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt. And she even has a deputy in Jacqui Smith MP.

“We have a minister for women, a minister for children, but there’s an assumption that men don’t have problems, but there are significant groups of men that also suffer disadvantage,” Lord Northbourne told BBC Parliament.

Government minister Lord Davies of Oldham told their Lordships there were no plans to create a new ministry.

Serious Issues

But the hereditary peer stresses there are serious issues affecting men.

75 per cent of trainee doctors are women, GCSE results have consistently shown girls with a pass rate of 55 per cent, outperforming the boys’ 44 per cent.

Mortality rates still see women outliving men and getting better access to health care.

According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, there is still a worrying upward trend in suicide rates among young men.

“If the government feels they need a minister to address women’s issues, it should be the same for men,” Lord Northbourne said.

BBC FHM: For Him Minister? 3 March, 2004

Baronet Northbourne was one of the ninety hereditary peers elected to remain in the House of Lords after the passing of the House of Lords Act 1999 until his retirement in 2018. He died in 2019.

Lord Stoddart of Swindon

In the 2004 Lords debate sparked by Lord Northbourne’s question, Lord Stoddart followed up with some pointed comments on the one-sided nature of “affirmative action” and asked for a reconsideration of the negative response to having a Minister for Men.

…Lady Scotland of Asthal, said … that positive action was a good thing where there was not equality of gender. Does the Minister believe that that should be extended to the teaching profession—where men are very much in the minority, particularly in primary schools where they represent only 15 per cent—the nursing profession, the legal profession, and, coming up, the medical profession? Do the Government believe in positive action in those cases? Would the Minister reconsider his Answer to the noble Lord, Lord Northbourne, about a Minister for men? It is about time that we had a Minister for men, because they are being hard done by these days.

House of Lords Hansard, HL Deb 03 March 2004 vol 658 cc648-50

Baron David Stoddart, The Lord Stoddart of Swindon, is a British politician and life peer in the House of Lords.

Lord Skelmersdale

In the 2004 debate, Roger Bootle-Wilbraham, Lord Skelmersdale, pressed for a reconsideration of the plight of men, and the need for a Minister for Men.

When Lord Oldham, for the government, stated that “the facts of the position” were well known. The reason for the sexism against men, he said, were because of history. The government said nothing about the present problems that men face, or the hardships they had coped with in history.

If one is playing disadvantage politics, it is hard to beat the million dead men during the two world wars. In the first world war, more than one fighting man in every ten lost his life. How do you match that kind of historical injustice?

Roger Bootle-Wilbraham, the 7th Baron Skelmersdale, was a horticulturist and long-time political activist. He died in October 2018.

Sir David Amess MP

As Lord Northbourne was asking questions and managing to create some debate in the House of Lords, raising publicity, David Amess MP asked the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, the direct and official question:

To ask the Prime Minister what plans he has to introduce a post of Minister for Men.

House of Commons Hansard record, 8 March 2004 (2004 vol 418 cc1379)

Tony Blair’s reply was overly terse, and unforgivably negative.

I have no plans to do so.

House of Commons Hansard record, 8 March 2004 (2004 vol 418 cc1380W)

David Amess has been an MP from 1983, in three different seats. He served for nine years on the Health Select Committee and has assisted in the passage of diverse legislation. Since 1997, he has been the Conservative MP for Southend West.

Lord Tebbit

To ask Her Majesty’s Government why there is within the Government Equalities Office a Minister for Women and Equalities; and whether they propose to introduce a Minister for Men and Equalities.

Hansard, 2 December 2009

This was under Gordon Brown’s government and still the answer was negative. If anything, it was getting more negative! While Tony Blair’s government is going down in history for being the government of ‘spin’, the government misandry was now getting more like an outright lie.

The Government Equalities Office was established in 2007 to tackle discrimination and to help create a more equitable society for all the men, women and children who live within it. …

What shows the lie about this is that the Equalities Office was established as a subsidiary ministry to the Ministry for Women. This structure persists to this day, although the Conservative governments have merged the two under a single minister. Since Equalities is subsidiary to, and answerable to, Women, it is a pretence that Equalities was ever intended to be equitable for men, or even for children. When your boss says ‘jump this way’, that’s the way you jump.

… However, the Government recognise that the nature of discrimination is that specific groups experience disadvantage based upon their innate characteristics. Despite comprising over half of the United Kingdom’s population, women are one such group.

For example, the overall gender pay gap comparing all female employees’ median pay with all male employees’ median pay is 22.0 per cent, the part-time gender pay gap comparing part-time women with full-time men is 39.4 per cent. This is one of the reasons why there is a Minister for Women and Equalities within the Government Office for Equalities. …

Given that the major difference between women’s and men’s pay is due to the numbers of hours worked, and that men on average earn less than women per hour of effort put into paid work (taking the full time away from home for work into account, plus work taken home), it is impossible to justify favouring women on the basis of pay.

However, it was somehow enough to justify the continuing decline of the male population.

… There is no proposal to introduce a Minister for Men and Equalities.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon)
Hansard, 2 December 2009

Baron Norman Tebbit, has been involved in politics for much of his life, with the Conservative Party, and has served in senior positions in the Cabinet. He is a life peer.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch

Baron Pearson asked about a Minister as a written question under the heading of ‘Departmental Responsibilities: Males’ :

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to appoint a Minister for Men and Boys; and if not, why not.

Parliamentary Business, 13 June 2018.

In an answer which the Justice for Men & Boys political party described as ‘idiotic’, the government came out with some amazing double-speak.

The Government has no current plans to appoint a Minister for Men and Boys. The fact that we have Ministers for Women but no Minister for Men does not reduce our commitment to ensuring equality for everyone. It simply acknowledges that, even in 2018, the UK has not yet reached full gender equality and that we need to deal with some very specific and deep-rooted problems.

We are and will remain committed to ensuring gender equality works for men and boys, as well as for women and girls.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Parliamentary Business, 13 June 2018.

The only way to make sense of this statement is by adopting the wrong-think of the United Nations, where ‘gender equality’ is synonymous with ‘providing more and more favouritism to women’.

So clear is it that the Equalities structure in government does not help men or boys, that when an MP known for his support of males was elected to the Equalities Committee, he was derided for being there.

Malcolm Pearson, Baron Pearson of Rannoch, is one of many former leaders of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), and is a member of the House of Lords.

Nothing else during the Conservative governments

The people who have asked have been from the right-wing of politics, generally putting a little pressure on the left. It is hard to see even most of these very few as trying to be beneficial to men, because none of them have pressured a right-wing government, other than the leader of UKIP asking the Conservative government. Since May 2010, ­­almost ten years at the time of writing, there has not been a single question from a Conservative Party politician put to the government about a minister for men.

The Labour Party (left wing) won’t be asking. They are so misandric that it is beyond a joke. The Conservative Party (right wing) have shown no more inclination to be helpful for men, either, and right-wing politicians have a tendency not to rock the boat. Especially when it comes to representing minorities. Like men.

Even the very few who show willingness to help men, don’t believe in a Men’s Minister: they want instead to get rid of the Women’s Minister and have everyone treated the same. Sorry, chaps, we’ve gone beyond that point. No Party will dare to upset the female vote — ­the majority voter — by losing the Minister for Women. The best we can hope for is an equally powerful Minister for Men to help boys and men climb out of the political wilderness they have been abandoned to.

If you want to look into why a men’s minister is needed, have a look at the two articles below. This is specific to the UK but applies to most Western nations. The first article was by a man now honoured for his work for men, but his worlds and deeds are given no other recognition.

Why we need a Minister for Men

The Government’s Equalities Bill is not only designed to streamline the equalities law but also to bring in measures such as extending the scope of positive action. However, the bill hides a quite stark example of discrimination – there has been a Minister for Women ever since the Labour Government was elected in 1997, yet no Minister for Men.

Mark Brooks:
Conservative Home, April 28, 2009

Is it time Britain had a Minister for Men?

From boys underperforming at school to spiralling male suicide figures, from the overwhelmingly male prison population to the Family Law courts, why is no one in politics speaking up for men.

Tim Samuels
The Telegraph, Thinking Man, 23 Mar 2015

Demand change

You have a chance to make a change. Even if you have never written to your MP before, there is always a first time.

Take a look at William Collins’s site where he explains what to do, who to write to and how to contact them. Remember: your MP is there to represent you, so don’t hesitate to let them know how to do that.

Half of voters want Britain’s next PM to create a ‘Minister for Men’, Father’s Day survey reveals

The survey from respected pollsters ComRes found that a third of men have suffered, or knew someone who had suffered, distress or mental health issues after being denied access to their children.

And half of British adults surveyed by ComRes agreed that given there is a Minister for Women and Equalities, there should be a Minister for Men. Only one in six members of the public disagree.

Mail Online, 15 June 2019

Enforce your rights. Write to your MP and the Prime Minister and demand a Minister for Men.

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