MP questions why there's no "minister for men" in the UK
“Why single out one characteristic for special mention?”
A British politician has questioned why there is no "minister for men" in UK government.
Tory MP Ben Bradley told the House of Commons this week that men's issues are often overlooked by the government and that they should not be pushed off the agenda.
Speaking on International Men's Day, Bradley asked MPs why there is no "minister for men," referring to the Minister for Women and Equalities position that was created during Tony Blair's government.
“Why have a minister for women but not one for men?" asked Bradley. “Why single out one characteristic for special mention?”
"Why have a minister for women, but not for men?"
Speaking in the International Men's Day debate, Conservative Ben Bradley says "can we ensure equality means just that, rather than positive discrimination at the expense of certain groups"
Watch: https://t.co/fci0RxYjAp pic.twitter.com/79MkEWm9wi
— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) November 19, 2020
Bradley, who once suggested that unemployed people should have vasectomies to stop them having children, claimed that terms like "male privilege" and "toxic masculinity" are doing more harm than good.
“Men are talked about all too often as a problem which must be rectified," he said. “Too often the constant drive for equality and diversity seeks to drag others down rather than lift everyone up.”
Bradley added that certain traditional values now often deemed unacceptable, ie "banter with the lads," have become an issue for some men, who might have been brought up to believe differently.
"They might struggle to find it when they’re told those things they thought were virtues – their good manners, wanting to provide for their family, wanting to be a man’s man, wanting to go to the football at the weekend and have some banter with the lads – are toxic, doing down the women around them," he said.
“Those manners they were taught on the way to respect women in their life is now sexist, that banter is now bullying.”
The Tory MP finished his speech by asking that Britain's men be as protected as its women.
“Can we ensure equality means just that rather than positive discrimination at the expense of certain groups?" he said. “Male is equally protected as female and we could do worse in this place than to confirm how the Act should be properly used.
Bradley's request for a "minister for men" received much criticism online, most notably from former Labour shadow home secretary Jacqui Smith, who pointed out that both men and women already benefit from equality.
Dear Ben. The men I know & love recognise institutional sexism and patriarchy and want its debilitating effect on women tackled. They also believe women AND men would benefit from a more equal society. They’re not sure you’re quite as committed to that as they are! Best Jacqui
— Jacqui Smith (@Jacqui_Smith1) November 19, 2020
"Dear Ben," she said. "The men I know & love recognise institutional sexism and patriarchy and want its debilitating effect on women tackled. They also believe women AND men would benefit from a more equal society.
"They're not sure you're quite as committed to that as they are!"