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Human Rights And Wrongs

Most of the UK Government is doing nothing for International Men’s Day .. again


Reading Time: 14 minutes

(Note: this article is being updated as more answers come in. The headline was altered to ‘Most of…’ in an update because there are government departments doing something: see below.)

Every year on International Women’s Day, the UK Parliament and government holds discussions, committees, forums and even dinners to celebrate women. These events spread yearly to encompass the days and weeks around International Women’s Day, even though there are no laws which disadvantage women.

For decades, we have heard about how committed various governments are to ‘equality’. We have seen women’s rights expand. We have even seen men’s rights shrink — such as having male-only spaces and recreation facilities — all in the name of ‘equality’.

For the past few years on International Men’s Day, the UK Parliament has held a discussion in a minor chamber. There has been very little else and no discussion in the main Parliament, even though there are laws which disadvantage men. Whose version of ‘equality’ is this?

Philip Davies MP has been asking what the UK government plans for International Men’s Day 2019.

The Minister for Women and Equalities was asked what plans her Department has to mark International Men’s Day on 19 November 2019.

Victoria Atkins, both The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, and the Minister for Women responded. After waffling about a few things the government has done over the past decade, the answer was a non-answer in that “the Government Equalities Office does not coordinate or facilitate activities to be undertaken by other Government Departments”. But that wasn’t the question.

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (aka the Home Office) was asked what plans her Department has to mark International Men’s Day on 19 November 2019.

Victoria Atkins, who had replied on behalf of ‘Women and Equalities’ responded on 05 November 2019 that it “has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Dissolution.” [Government dissolved in preparation for the next general election.]

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care was asked what plans his Department has to mark International Men’s Day on 19 November 2019.

Caroline Dinenage, the Minister of for Health and Social Care, was at least up-front and blunt. We are inclined to give her some credence for at least not waffling in the way so many politicians did.
“There are currently no plans to mark International Men’s Day in the Department.”

The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union was asked what plans his Department has to mark International Men’s Day on 19 November 2019.

A Parliamentary Under-Secretary found time to reply that it “has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Dissolution.” [Government dissolved in preparation for the next general election.] Was it really such a hard question?

The Secretary of State for Education was asked what plans his Department has to mark International Men’s Day on 19 November 2019.

Chris Skidmore, with a title too long to bother with, answered with the same boiler-plate text that says “nothing special”, but included this extra:
“As part of the Department’s Diversity and Inclusion calendar, one of our monthly awareness months focused on Men’s Health and Wellbeing. Colleagues were encouraged to talk about issues and to challenge some of the cultural norms around what it means to be vulnerable.”
We think this is waffle: a “monthly awareness month” that nobody has heard of, along with something about “colleagues” and what sounds like abusive ‘support’ groups. No, won’t do at all.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland was asked what plans his Department has to mark International Men’s Day on 19 November 2019.

Julian Smith, The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, mostly answered with the same “nothing special” but also stated:

“…we plan to mark International Men’s Day on 19 November by communicating key messages on our departmental Intranet – that we want to see all people being treated fairly, regardless of gender and highlighting the support available to men in the workplace from shared parental leave to access to our qualified Mental Health First Aiders.”

He also talked about commissioning blogs “to share male perspectives” but there’s no details and we doubt this will be happening for International Men’s Day.

There is a little for men working under Julian Smith

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions was asked what plans her Department has to mark International Men’s Day on 19 November 2019.

The reponse was an insult. After some standardised waffle, a Parliamentary Under-Secretary stated:
“In DWP [Department for Work and Pensions] we have a series of national events taking place over the coming weeks to mark International Men’s Day. DWP have partnered with external organisations (The Good Lad initiative and Springboard Consultancy) to give a platform to raise awareness of the challenges that men face in life and raising awareness of men’s wellbeing. We have also invited DWP senior positive role models to talk about their journey, DWP User Researchers to talk about the issues that impact on men at work and the DWP Women’s Network to lead a session on allies and how allies benefit us all.”
The Good Lad Initiative is a feminist propaganda NGO whose work is “rooted in women’s experiences” that aims to transform “the behaviours, attitudes and skills of men and boys” for the benefit of women.
The Springboard Consultancy run training shemes for women graduates and undergraduates, and a programme to assist women into upper management.
‘DWP User Researchers’ is waffle.
The DWP Women’s Network (there is no DWP Men’s Network) does little, and nothing for men.
Worse than admitting they are doing nothing, the DWP pretend they are doing things for men while funding an anti-male ideology and driving forward with support for women that they don’t offer to men.

The Secretary of State for Scotland was asked what plans his Department has to mark International Men’s Day on 19 November 2019.

Alister Jack, the Secretary of State for Scotland was blunt and to the point in saying:
“The Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland has no particular plans in place at this time to mark International Men’s Day on 19 November 2019.”
Tough luck, Scots, you’re no better off than men in the rest of the UK.

The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy was asked what plans her Department has to mark International Men’s Day on 19 November 2019.

The answer was a waffle from a Parliamentary Under-Secretary, that sums up “nothing special”.

The Secretary of State for Transport was asked what plans his Department has to mark International Men’s Day on 19 November 2019.

Chris Heaton-Harris Minister for Transport responded personally. In the middle of a load of boiler-plate text in the answer was this:

The central department will hold a panel discussion on “Men Inspiring Men”. Our Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency will be marking the day with an opportunity for staff to network and meet inspirational role models. Our Maritime and Coastguard Agency will promote shared parental leave to men as well as male health and wellbeing.

It’s very little but we give Chris Heaton-Harris some kudos for that much.

The Minister for the Cabinet Office was asked what plans his Department has to mark International Men’s Day on 19 November 2019.

The answer from Oliver Dowden, Minister of State for the Cabinet Office, was only the standard boiler-plate text that sums up “nothing special”.

The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (yes, the UK really has such a thing) was asked what plans her Department has to mark International Men’s Day on 19 November 2019.

George Eustice, Minister of State, replied on 05 November 2019 that it “has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Dissolution.” [Government dissolved in preparation for the next general election.] They had over a week for this simple answer.

The  Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport was asked what plans her Department has to mark International Men’s Day on 19 November 2019.

Nigel Adams, Minister of State, just gave the boiler-plate text without any attempt at answering the question.

The Secretary of State for the Department of Defence was asked what plans his Department has to mark International Men’s Day on 19 November 2019.

The answer from a Parliamentary Under-Secretary waffled a bit before responding that “Throughout the month of November, Defence is encouraging all personnel to take part in Movember to remind and support each other on important issues surrounding men’s physical and mental health.”
Good on them but that wasn’t the question.

The Attorney General was asked what plans his Department has to mark International Men’s Day on 19 November 2019.

The answer from Michael Ellis, the Solicitor-General, surprised us in seeming genuine and it would be unusual for the AGO to host anything public-facing.
However, the response concentrates on the government’s Diversity and Inclusion programme and a bake sale that could be a mockery. The Diversity and Inclusion Strategy has never been known to assist the vast majority of men to be included in societal areas that are denied them. Perhaps we are being unfair and maybe, as Mr Ellis says, “This event will raise awareness both of the contributions men make to society, and the challenges that they face. It will also be an opportunity for the department to raise money in support of Prostate Cancer UK.”
Overall, we’re not convinced.

The Secretary of State for Justice was asked what plans his Department has to mark International Men’s Day on 19 November 2019.

Chris Philip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice, gave a response.

[skipped boiler-plate response text]

We have a range of activity planned to mark International Men’s Day, either on the day itself or in advance, including:
◆ a men’s health and wellbeing event in Leeds being run by our departmental Mental Health Allies;
◆ working with our Corporate Communications and Diversity, Inclusion and Wellbeing teams and our network of Health and Wellbeing Champions to raise awareness amongst our male employees of the range of departmental support and wellbeing programmes available;
◆ activity being led by our departmental Gender Equality Network includes an International Men’s Day quiz, a shared event with the Government Legal Department, and a breakfast session for dads and dads-to-be; and
◆ a dedicated International Men’s Day blog from a male member of staff to feature on our employee intranet.

It’s not much but good for you, Chris Philip

The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government was asked what plans his Department has to mark International Men’s Day on 19 November 2019.

Jake Berry, the Minister for Housing, Communities and Local Government responded.
He spoke of some general things his Department does that benefits men and mentioned that they marked International Men’s Day 2018 “with our Women’s network”.
He then spoke of a conference to help “Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) men” which sounds good if you identify as ‘BAME’ but clearly excludes the vast majority of men on International Men’s Day: an exclusion which is unacceptable.

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs was asked what plans his Department has to mark International Men’s Day on 19 November 2019.

The answer from a Parliamentary Under-Secretary was the common template that sums up “nothing special”.

The Secretary of State for International Trade was asked what plans his Department has to mark International Men’s Day on 19 November 2019.

Conor Burns, the Minister, mentioned that “our Permanent Secretary will offer six speed mentoring sessions to male members of staff”. Well, great, but helping six people with quick, one-off sessions is hardly doing much.
The Department will also be writing a blog article “about striving for gender equality written by a member of our Executive Team”. Wow, we are so underwhelmed by the effort of writing a blog article for .. well, possibly, not even for men.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer was asked what plans the Treasury Department has to mark International Men’s Day on 19 November 2019.

The answer was the standard waffle from The Exchequer Secretary, that sums up “nothing special”.

The Secretary of State for Wales was asked what plans his Department has to mark International Men’s Day on 19 November 2019.

The answer by Alun Cairns, the Secretary of State for Wales, is one of the most ridiculous. He first admits that his Office “has no specific plans to mark International Men’s Day 2019” and then goes on to say that “International Men’s Day also offers an opportunity to talk about work across Government to highlight how outcomes for men and boys can be improved.”
Well, yes, Mr Cairns, the Day does indeed offer than opportunity. So why aren’t you taking it?

The Secretary of State for International Development was asked what plans his Department has to mark International Men’s Day on 19 November 2019.

Andrew Murrison, the Minister, waffled about how men and boys can help women and girls. (The DFID is great at pushing this agenda to other countries.)
He also mentioned that the Department “saw levels of corporal punishment experienced by boys decrease by 26%” in Pakistan. Yes, it has, bringing it to an unacceptable level about five times higher than metered out to women and girls. We’re not sure that his Department helped achieve this reduction, though.
Simply put, his response sums up “nothing special” with an assurance that they will continue to appeal to men and boys to help women and girls.

Men make up 48% of the population. (It might be 52% — the proportion of births — if boys and men were cared about as much as girls and women but so many males die young that the UK is made up of 52% women instead.) It’s bad enough that males end up as less than half, having started as more, but for the UK government to ignore them even on the one day of the year that is specifically to concentrate on them is abysmal.

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