Are there any votes in Men’s Issues?

The news that David Cameron is to appoint a senior female adviser to assess the impact of every Coalition policy on women, begs the question – are there votes in men’s issues?


The government’s own analysis shows it is polling badly with women because of how its deficit reduction programme and welfare reforms are being seen to impact on women disproportionately and because of moves such its attempt to speed up making the pension age equal for men and women.

In the early days of the Coalition Government, Tory support climbed among women, reaching a 45 per cent high in one poll at the end of 2010 and hovering just below 40 per cent in others compared to around 34 per cent of men. Since then the Tories’ lead amongst women has fallen, dropping below that of men in many polls, with a recent Harris Interactive survey for the Daily Mail finding that only 43 per cent of women approve of the Prime Minister whilst 54 per cent of men saying that Mr Cameron is doing a good job.










So what if the situation was reversed and, say, 55% of women backed the Government but only 45% of men – would we see a sudden call for a men’s advisor at Number 10?

And do men (or women) vote along gender lines around gender issues anyway?

If enough men were educated about the 10 men who die in the workplace each month, the 10 men who are murdered every week or the 10 men who commit suicide every day could the lack of value placed on men’s lives become a vote winner?

What if enough of us cared about the fact that 40% of men die prematurely, could we get the Government to take action or would they be more concerned that tackling men’s short life expectancy would be an extra burden on pensions?

How about boys who do worse at school, are more likely to be excluded, less likely to get to university, 50% more likely to be unemployed when they graduate and will be paid less than their female friends in their twenties? Would taking a stand for boys and young men not only galvanize their vote, but also their fathers and mothers votes too?

How about dads? Would addressing the unequal rights of fathers that has the UK placed 18th out of 21 industrial nations for family fairness be a vote winner not just for dads, but for mums and other family members too – particularly paternal grandparents who so often get a raw deal when mums and dads separate?

Is it possible that men could become a voting block in their own right or that making the case for men’s issues could influence the future voting patterns of both men and women?

We’d love the hear your thoughts on this- why not leave a comment today?


Glen Poole is UK co-ordinator for International Men's Day, Director at the consultancy Helping Men and news editor of insideMAN magazine. Follow him on twitter @HelpingMen or find out more about his work at

Posted in NEWS
24 comments on “Are there any votes in Men’s Issues?
  1. Barry says:

    Its a great question and I see no reason why men can’t begin using the same language as women; “If you want my vote as a male, you will have to show me your male-freindly policies”. This is easy enough, so we just have to get this into the heads of males, and into press releases that highlight the emergence of a male voting bloc.
    In this the internet era we are all capable of contributing to, and hence shaping public and political discussion. And in doing so we can reshape the narratives ….. let’s get shaping the “men are voters” narrative in the year ahead!

  2. Alison Waugh says:

    I think I’d only want to vote for a party that was fair to both men’s and women’s issues. So the current moves to bribe women to vote Tory for selfish gendered reasons are a real turn-off for me. I’d hate ‘equality’ to become any more of a competition than it is, yet the inequalities men face definitely need to be highlighted.

    I’d like to see this approached in a way that recognises both men and women face some inequalities in different areas of life and that action needs to be taken to make life fairer where possible for all. As a woman I must say I personally encounter few if any instances where I feel disadvantaged because of my gender in spite of constant government assertions that I have a subordinate role in society. I enjoy several privileges, however.

    Surely the EHRC should be capable of informing governments of what is needed to make sure things are fair for men and women. Having yet another department to push for women only seems bizarre, and surely can’t comply with Human Rights legislation.

    The Scottish CHRS had a consultation recently, and a few members of AMIS were interviewed. I think there was recognition that a major problem exists for men with respect to domestic abuse and family law, but time will tell.

    I am Secretary of Abused Men In Scotland but have written this as an individual.

  3. Paul says:

    Glen – yes there are; the issue is that despite the great ongoing work in profile raising of men’s issues by MHF, Fatherhood Institute etc, the profile remains too low. It was great to see Prof Alan White from the Centre for Men’s Health at Leeds Met Uni on the BBC Breakfast time TV sofa a week or so ago re ‘men in sheds’ – however, this sort of profile needs to be maintained. There is a continued lack of understanding – especially in terms of health work from commissioning managers, on how to work with men. Until there is a policy on men’s health – on work with men, that enforces dedicated work and directives with men it is going to be difficult to move forward with this – commissioners and statutory authorities stick to set agendas passed down from government – they aren’t that innovative in interpreting how to do this and apart from some good but mostly small-scale examples, including those demonstrated at the recent Brighton conference, fail to engage with men – and hence lack profile . We will continue to have small-scale, localised pieces of work – which are great and we can celebrate these, but they don’t push politicians buttons. There are enough men involved in politics – perhaps we need some of them, on a cross-party basis, to champion this?

  4. Rosemary says:

    Given that half the population are male I would like to see a level playing field that treats both men and women equally then maybe the next generation (this one’s lost) will grow up to trust the system.

  5. Interesting question indeed. One which dovetails seamlessly with the point you noted in the Equality and Human Rights Commission policy focus where women’s rights are central to 17/18 areas, in stark contrast to the absence of focus on male issues.

    To directly answer the question, there are votes in men’s issues – or should be since men are at least 50% of the population. However that might be a hard sell without voluntary organisations and the establishment such as the EHRC, local authorities, health authorities and the Government making the case for and seriously focussing on addressing the concerns of boys and men.

    As highlighted by the statistics in your post it is critical that the wider society and the authorities etc.. start putting specific, targeted emphasis on boys and men’s issues. When men have little aspirations and feel they have little chance of earning a living lawfully then we will see outcomes such as the riots, murders, robberies, mental health issues, suicides and any number of other awful statistics, that not only damage or worse kill men, but negatively impact upon women and girls too. As others have rightly said it’s in all of our interests to tackle the issues.

  6. Patrick Hampshire says:

    One of the main issues with boys and young men in relation to doing well at school is poverty of aspiration. Some research I’ve just conduced showed that the gap between boys and girls at the ages of 7 and 11 is about 8%, at the end of key stage 3 it has jumped to 18%. The key question has to be: what is happening to boys and young men during key stage 3 that is negatively impacting on their attainment? We have tended to ‘excuse’ this by looking at developmental models which predict boys’ poor attainment but what is clear is that this is a cultural phenomenon not a biological phenomenon. What we need is a culture change in relation to boys where high academic aspirations become the norm. This would also have the impact of improving their mental health too.

  7. Carlton - UKdads says:

    Are there any votes in men’s issues? Yes but…

    The issues surrounding men/fathers and their children is above part politics. It is not surprising to hear that David Cameron is using these kind of out dated practices. The issues are all well documented that are faced by men/fathers and their children year in year out. It has become away of life for most of us.

    What is necessary therefore, is a coherent strategy long term [for both male and Female, after all as a father my daughters well-fare is no less a worry to me] let us be clear and realistic about our expectations. Governments must do its bit but we are the faces father and their children see every day so let us make the case….

    Therefore,lets not give away our votes for anything less than is necessary, so that when I am asked the question next time…for example, what is the national strategy for working with boys and young men?

    I am able to say with some confidence……. the service will always seek to meet the individual needs as well as, the aspirations of all concerned and we are able to deliver that promise.

    Communication is always a good thing so any discussion about how we tackle inequality, to bring a little, as Arnold suggested, ‘sweetness and light’ into the lives of men/fathers and their children is for me a good thing.

  8. glenpoole says:

    Thanks for all the replies, we are being interviewed by Radio 4 on this question tomorrow and all your answers will inform what we say – I’ll blog again on this an incorporate some of what you have said – thank you – Glen

  9. javiroll says:

    When it was announced earlier in the year that it was illegal to charge men more for car insurance, I was in the tea room with eight other men. I mentioned the subject and asked them what they thought and a cheer went up as if their favourite team had just scored.
    On a separate matter, I was headlined in the local paper for criticizing the feminist war against men. There was 11 to 1 support in the comments section (from women and men). Political parties continually confuse feminists with representing women when most women hate feminism. I’ve had women at work saying they do not want special favours and treatment. They do not want women’s sections in their unions and they don’t want quotas which only serve to devalue their achievements. Yes there are votes for promoting men’s issues, but men have lost faith because, for so long, it’s been all about promoting women at the expense of men.

    • pete says:

      “I’ve had women at work saying they do not want special favours and treatment. They do not want women’s sections in their unions and they don’t want quotas which only serve to devalue their achievements”

      Er… why aren’t these women resisting special favours? Wherever I’ve worked they’ve leapt at the chance to get better training because of their gender. I’ve only seen a handful of women heroines who been against male circ. Few women have ever noted that there could be false allegations of rape. No women in the press resisted the call by the Women’s Justice Taskforce to close all women’s prisons. Sorry – but if I’m wrong point out where in the press or political commentary.

  10. […] Prior to the recording we posed the question “Are There Any Votes In Men’s Issues”  on our blog and you can see how professionals from around the UK responded by clicking here now to join the debate about men’s votes. […]

  11. Nigel says:

    A very informative debate. I do think the key thinkg is to highlight key issues that affect men. In recent years the recording of Gender has made visible the differences experienced by men. For instance in health and education, when formerly a more generic term (patients or pupils) hid the differential impact on the sexes. Just this week the Health and Safety executive published figures on fatal injuries at work, based on previous statistics it is safe to assume these will be almost exclusively males. However the figures don’t give a gender breakdown, this is routinely the case yet the HSA should always give a Gender breakdown. The stats start to at least raise questions in people’s minds.

    To be honest I suspect the changing popularity of the current government is a very simple correlation that the goverment has to cut back and women are more likely to be in receipt of pulbic funding. As javiroll points out this is not the same as the raft of “women’s issues” tagged on to this simple correlation and these will remain the concern of a narrow class rather than of women in general.

    I suspect men and women expect to see fairness and are concerned about boys education, want the best health possible, desire children to have relationships with both parents, expect fairness at work and want all to be protected by the law. So on some specfic and very important issues there are votes(from men and women) but I would hate to see, and believe counter productive, the sort of disjointed rag bag of issues that appear to be pushed as “women’s issues”.

    • pete says:

      “I suspect men and women expect to see fairness and are concerned about boys education, want the best health possible, desire children to have relationships with both parents, expect fairness at work and want all to be protected by the law”

      So can we expect women to be sticking up for these men’s issues then? Previous track record indicates not.

  12. […] Prior to the recording we posed the question “Are There Any Votes In Men’s Issues”  on our blog and you can see how professionals from around the UK responded by clicking here now to join the debate about men’s votes. […]

  13. […] You can read what some men’s campaigners around the UK have been saying about this issue and add your own thoughts by clicking on the link here – Are There Any Votes In Men’s Issues. […]

  14. Whilst recognising that there are some issues facing men I am wary of creating a “men’s issues” bandwagon when I would prefer to treat individuals as individuals whatever their gender. The creation of a “Men’s Movement” risks creating resistance and antipathy from both men who don’t subscribe and women what want to have a go at men.
    The fact that breast cancer affects men as well as women (for example), or that men are also subjects of domestic violence, or commit suicide, or… suggests that we need to deal with the issues NOT creat some all-encompassing movement that will almost inevitably become a platform for radicals and self-seekers.

  15. Pete says:

    Thanks to Glen at al for getting airtime.
    Firstly, most men need to get off their arses and start getting involved in the debate from their own experience and perspective. This means speaking back to politicians like Eagle, Harman, and criticising the Guardian a lot more for it’s anti-male bias. If I see another headline that says “Pity poor men”……
    Secondly, most new legal initiatives have been anti-male – Norgrove report, Go Orders, DV definition extensions etc. Most government output will show a women as victim, man as perpetrator. Most government officers have a pro-women ‘postive’ discrimination course. Why not show up and tell them to get some balance?
    The hope is that a sizeable block of grassroots builds up that steers the agenda right back to the reality of the stas – more male suicides; poor health outcomes for men; male circ. legal and fine; police love hating on men in any old accusation; etc. etc. So let’s grow a pair collectively and start being the men our fathers were instead of frghtened mutes in thrall to militants who have set the agenda.
    Great start though.

  16. Joe Iles facebook says:

    Surely the whole question of gender voting becomes pointless as you will always attract the same stereotypical standpoints and get nowhere.. I ,d like to stress the point that socially the benefits you,ll see of equal rights within the family , workplace, everywhere.. People tend to fall back to what the majority is doing , what they can see ,, regardless of any factual evidence. The aim ,or the question should be are you a benefit to the role you are potraying , do you have a positive impact , are you good at , regardless of your gender … The argument at the moment is futile if you do not change and progress and take on the mantle of sexual equality across the board in all its forms ,, with the simple question Are you capable of doing this ??? Then do the task without the fear of Being alienated or given a tag to which they then can be labelled and then judged … To qoute ,,, Tell the people something they know and you,ll be appluaded , tell them something they don,t you will be villified

  17. Tom Martin says:

    There are currently no votes in men’s issues, because people do not know what the men’s issues of the day are. Give them five minutes, and they’ll think of a couple, but they do not trip off the tongue, and that is largely because the curriculum deliberately steers away from discussing all the inequalities men face. There is no lack of research on men in academia. There is a deliberate policy to block male discourse.

    I am suing the Gender Institute at LSE, for sex discrimination, as all five of its its gender studies masters degrees ignore men’s issues, and even recommend using bias and blaming men for women’s issues instead. You can read the press, listen to the interviews, watch the video, and donate to the legal fighting fund, at sexismbusters dot org

    A court hearing date has been set for February 14th.

    If gender studies, and all the other fields it inspires can be held to the letter of the law, to present men’s issues fairly as with women’s, in keeping with their legal obligation to avoid the use of sex-discriminatory learning materials, then schools and universities will change their curricula to avoid legal actions like the £50,000 lawsuit I am bringing.

    Schools and universities influence the media practitioners of tomorrow, so if we want to avoid another decade of anti-male brainwashing from the media, and anti-male rhetoric from politicians trying to curry favour with the electorate so misandrically lead, then do something today, and help my case win.

    • Pete says:

      Tom – terrific comment – can you let people know WHERE the court hearing is please?

      • Rosemary says:

        I was a School Governor a few years ago in a Junior School and I had to fight to get a male teacher to be employed. Many of the children around 50% were living in their homes with just their Mothers and often had no male role models.

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