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.