Equalities minister blanks UK men’s groups

Lynne Featherstone, the Home Office  minister with responsibility for equality has responded to a letter form nearly 100 men’s groups in the UK – with silence.

The Lib-Dem MP took 12 weeks to officially say nothing in response to a joint letter from a broad alliance of individuals and organisations working with men and boys  (co-ordinated by The Men’s Network) to coincide with International Men’s Day in 2011.

The letter outlined the groups’ shared concerns about the inequalities that men and boys face in areas like health, education, fatherhood and criminal justice.

The groups welcomed the fact that the Government had consulted with women and women’s groups on  how government engages with and listens to women and asked the Minister one simple question:

“Will the Government also undertake to consult with men and men’s groups about how it can respond more effectively to the specific needs of men and boys in the UK?”

After nearly 3 months of silence, Lynne Featherstone chose not to provide an answer to this question, leaving a civil servant to send a reply that failed the address the only question in the letter.

And while the civil servant’s response states that the Government is committed to tackling the inequalities that men face, its own Equalities minister refuses to correspond with a broad alliance of men’s groups whilst making disparaging remarks about men in her speeches.

In September 2011, for example, she was widely criticised for telling her party conference that men made terrible decisions. She said; “Look at the mess the world is in, and look who has been in charge. if you leave it to…men…you get terrible decisions.”

Her comments were condemned by Conservative MP Priti Patel who said:

“These comments are really ill-thought out. As equalities minister she has got to be unbiased about the value that both men and women bring to decision-making.

“She works in a department that is trying to address inequalities in society – to then dump the blame for a range of problems on one sex is completely wrong and misguided.”

It seems that whatever the Government’s stated position on equality and men, it’s own minister for equality can’t bring herself to acknowledge that men experience inequalities or answer one simple question posed by nearly 100 men’s groups.

As things stand in currently appears that the minister for equality has no intention of treating men and men’s groups with equality or ensuring we are consulted about how the government engages with and listens to men.

To read the reply from civil servant Tracey Broscott click here now.

 

 

About

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 www.helpingmen.co.uk.

Posted in NEWS, News From The Men's Network
6 comments on “Equalities minister blanks UK men’s groups
  1. Dadzarmy says:

    What you received is a standard response to any complaint against a Government Department. The State considers it there duty to serve the themselves first and the public later. The Lib Dem politicians have repeatedly shamed themselves in Government and continue to do so stifling much needed change.

    • glenpoole says:

      Thanks Dadzarmy – I agree the method of response is typical of how any Government operates what is new is the Government acknowledging that men and boys are a distinct group who experience inequalities and that action should be taken to address those inequalities – just the simple act of having every public sector body acknowledge that would make a massive difference – so to hear it from the Government is a small but significant step forward

  2. […] you’d think would be obligated above all others to support efforts to fight discrimination – has completely ignored the letter: After nearly 3 months of silence, Lynne Featherstone chose not to provide an answer to this […]

  3. “She works in a department that is trying to address inequalities in society – to then dump the blame for a range of problems on one sex is completely wrong and misguided.”

    A very good comment but, even more important, it needs the input of men to actually help that inequality into place. By pretending that men don’t matter in the debate, because they have the power already, is pretty ignorant and foolhardy for an ‘equalities’ minister. She should be engaging all sections of society, not making sweeping generalised derogatory statements that alienate some of them. A rather short sighted reaction, in my opinion.

  4. […] The Coalition Government has outlined its commitment to tackle the inequalities men experience following a campaign led by The Men’s Network. Nearly 100 individuals and organisations working with men and boys backed a joint letter to parliament on International Men’s Day 2011. To read the Home Office’s response click here now. To find out the Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone failed to respond to the letter click here. […]

  5. […] In 2011 The Coalition Government outlined its commitment to tackle the inequalities men experience after 100 individuals and organisations working with men and boys, led by the UK, sent a joint letter to parliament on International Men’s Day 2011 – read more here. […]

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