Q: The majority of politicians are men… Surely there is enough representation of men in Parliament, is there not?
We all know that men often do not talk about their problems. This is true in the private sphere and in politics. Most male (and female) politicians do not address issues men face. This is not ill-will, it is simply a blind spot based on cultural and gender norms. A Minister for Men and Boys would put a spotlight on this blind spot.
Q: We already have a Minister for Equalities… Is it not their job to include the needs of Men?
Theoretically yes, but the focus of the Minister for Equalities is groups that are perceived as “vulnerable” such as LGBT, Disabled, BAME, and women. Men, even though they, as a gender, experience certain disadvantages disproportionately (homelessness, suicide, life expectancy, addiction, health issues), are not seen as a vulnerable group. This leads to men, as a gender, being forgotten or excluded in discourse on equalities, even if men are the majority of people affected (e.g. Covid 19). This neglect has been consistent over the last years and can only be changed by nominated representation.
Q: Could the issues experienced by men not be addressed individually without a Minister for Men?
Not really. The issues experienced by men are often interconnected and need to be addressed by an overarching strategy. Examples: Evidence shows that lack of parental involvement by a father often leads to lower educational achievement, higher likelihood of addiction, incarceration. Addiction can lead to homelessness; the same is the case for incarceration. Experience of abuse (domestic or sexual) as child can lead to mental health issues, can lead to abusive relationships later on in life, both as abused or abuser.
If these issues are addressed individually without an overarching strategy, it will not lead to positive, lasting results. A Minister for Men and Boys would make sure to address these issues in a holistic way.
Q: We haven’t dealt with all issues women face, yet. Should we not focus on this first?
A Minister for Men and Boys would not take focus away from women’s issues, on the contrary. Many issues which men experience negatively affect women by proxy (suicide, family breakdown, domestic abuse). If women do better, society does better and men do better. The same is true the other way around. If men do better, society does better and women do better.