Editor : David Kernek (kernekdavid@gmail.com)

Do we need a Minister for Men?

IN an age when the Chattering Classes and their lawyers are seemingly obsessed – almost to the point of madness – with gender, race, and identity politics, and when Prime Minister Boris Johnson says the post-Covid world must be ‘more feminine’, Bath has been chosen for an event its organizers hope will draw attention to the plight of a group whose interests and wellbeing have been overlooked. The Society To Establish A Minister For Men is hosting a one-day symposium in the town on July 17.

The aims are to raise public awareness, and increase the number of ‘men and women’ prepared to work to ‘take male issues’ to the general public, ‘95% of whom are ignorant of these’. But, the organizers warn, ‘ideological and conspiracy theories will not be on the Minister for Men agenda’.

But isn’t it still very much a bloke’s world?

To which the Society says: ‘A great deal of attention has been paid on men being disproportionately represented at what is often perceived as the top of society, in politics, big business, and in the corridors of power everywhere. However, there has been very little focus on men and boys being massively over-represented at the bottom of society, too. It is certainly true that there are more male than female MPs (although this gap is narrowing), but it is hard to argue that issues affecting women are not well addressed in Parliament by this preponderance of male MPs. There has been a Minister for Women since 1997, and that is a great thing! Issues that exclusively or disproportionately affect women and girls absolutely need to be identified and addressed. This is exactly what is happening and so much the better. Unfortunately, there is no political representation whatsoever for the issues that exclusively or disproportionately affect men and boys. In fact, men and boys are the only group that do not have political representation of any kind and this needs to change.

‘This is in no way an attempt to take funding or moral support from the organizations that work to help women and girls. We are only asking that the issues that affect men and boys are also part of that conversation and for them to be treated with the same degree of seriousness and compassion.’

These are some of the ‘male issues’ highlighted by the campaigners:

• Education is failing boys and young men. Boys have been under-performing compared to girls at school for decades.  Boys are four times more likely than girls to be excluded from schools. There are 35% more female than male graduates from our universities and this gap is widening. The prospects for boys leaving school without a decent education are often very grim.

• Men are massively disadvantaged by the Family courts: mothers are given custody 90% of the time and can ignore court orders to provide the father with access to his children with impunity. Fatherlessness has an extremely negative impact on outcomes for both girls and boys, including a much higher risk of mental health disorders, suicide, self-harm, drug and alcohol abuse, educational under attainment, school exclusion, violence (as both victims and perpetrators), criminal behaviour, gang membership, prison, teenage pregnancy.

• Men are four times more likely to commit suicide than women.

• Men and boys are far more likely to be the victims of violence, yet this elicits very little sympathy from the public. There are campaigns to end violence towards women and girls, but nothing at all for men and boys, even though they make up, the majority of victims.

 •Disproportionate sentencing due to gender means that three out of four male prisoners would not be in prison if they were treated the same as women.

• 90% of homeless sleeping on the streets are men.

• Men have a shorter life expectancy, yet there is minimal investment or research on male specific health issues.

•Prostate cancer kills as many people as breast cancer, but receives 1/3 of the funding.

‘To summarize, addressing gender inequalities is not a zero-sum game where helping men and boys address the issues that are specific to them will take anything away from the efforts to help women and girls. Quite the opposite: tackling the injustices faced by men and boys will have only a mutually beneficial effect on women, men, boys, and girls.

That is why we need a Minister for Men.’

Symposium tickets cost £25, which includes lunch. For more info, send an e-mail to …

ministerformen@gmail.com

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