Get Government Working for #BoysToo
Dear [Name of your MP],
I am writing to ask that you commit to take action to address significant structural inequalities currently impacting on boys and men in the UK.
As you will be aware, boys and girls born today will experience challenges throughout their lifetime and some of those challenges will be caused by attitudes and barriers that can disproportionately or even uniquely impact on them because of their sex.
An stark example of such inequality can be seen in the current educational outcomes for our young boys. Incredibly it is estimated that if current trends continue boys born in a post Brexit Britain will be 75% less likely to attend University than their male peers.
You will also know that direct sex has been illegal in this country since last century and that the Equality Act also places additional responsibilities on Public Authorities and Public Servants carrying out a public function.
Despite this boys and men in the UK still face extraordinary disadvantage some of which will be caused by the actions or inaction of the state.
State Sponsored Structural Discrimination
Perhaps the most obvious example of how the British State disadvantage boys and men through direct action is evidenced by the current Government arrangements for promoting equality and addressing inequality experienced by citizens on grounds of sex. Incredibly the current purview of both the Equalities Office and the Government's three Equality Ministers explicitly excludes roughly 49% of the population.
This is why the Men & Boys Coalition is calling on Government to: a) Change the remit of the Government Equalities Office to include men and boys; b) Change the title of the Minister for Women and Equalities to the Minister for Equalities with a clear remit to also cover male inequality; and c) Appoint a Special Adviser on Men and Boys Wellbeing within the Government Equalities Office.
Another shocking example of state sponsored structural discrimination was highlighted recently by the Government's approach to acknowledging and addressing the needs of victims of domestic abuse during unprecedented periods of enforced national lockdowns.
Direct Sex Discrimination against vulnerable children and adults
As part of the #YouAreNotAlone campaign, numerous Ministers including the Home Secretary made public statements encouraging men and boys experiencing abuse to contact the National Domestic Abuse Helpline for help and non judgmental support.
In reality the publicly funded National Domestic Abuse Helpline is currently run by a woman only Charity and will not provide assistance to men. What's more as a recent documentary revealed, boys and men contacting the helpline will be signposted to a different 'specialist service' where they will be screened as a potential perpetrator of domestic violence. The practice of 'screening' male victims is currently actively encouraged by the Home Office.
In 2019 The UK Statistics Authority supported a complaint by the Men and Boys Coalition over the misleading use of the phrase “overwhelming majority” to refer to the proportion of female victims of domestic abuse.
Despite this, over 2020, numerous Government Ministers, including the prime minister have repeated this false assertion. Such claims promote dangerous and unhelpful gendered stereotypes that can causes a significant detriment to male victims of crime. Not least to boys under 16 who are estimated to be at least as likely to experience domestic abuse as their female peers.
And yet incredibly the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government are still prepared to fund specialist safe accommodation providers who operate the discriminatory practice of excluding boys over the age of 12 from their services.
Again, direct sex discrimination has been illegal since 1975. In the 21st Century there can be no justification for discriminating against children in such a harsh and uncaring way solely on the grounds of sex.
For this reason I would ask you to support the Men & Boys Coalition's call for a national strategy on intimate violence against boys and men to compliment the existing and currently discriminatory strategy for ending Violence Against Women and Girls.
MY Request for YOUR Commitment
I have highlighted just three examples of disadvantages that our boys can experience throughout their lifetime. Sadly there are many more across areas that include health, justice and social protection.
For this reason I am asking you to support the Men & Boys campaign for a more inclusive decade and pledge to take action to help implement their recommended ten priority policies that I believe would significantly support the wellbeing of our boys and men.
I would be grateful if you would write to me by return to advise me of the following:
That you will support the implementation of the Men & Boys Coalition's recommended ten priority policies.
What action you will be taking to ensure the implementation of these policies in full.
Please note that the two examples of institutional sex discrimination outlined in this letter are specific to England and Wales. To some extent practices may vary in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Two examples of good practice can be seen in the Northern Ireland Executive's Strategy for Stopping Domestic Violence and Abuse in Northern Ireland which is gender inclusive and the associated National Domestic Abuse Helpline Service for Northern Ireland which does not directly discriminate against boys and men on grounds of sex.
Not only is it entirely possible to stop discriminating against boys and men without causing any detriment to women and girls, it is also required by law.
Change is possible and it is long overdue. Every year men in the UK proportionally contribute significantly more to the public purse in taxes (when compared to women) and receive significantly less out of it in the form of social protection and publicly funded services. Surely equality is not too much to ask for in return.
Download set of info cards from here: