As MPs today debated the importance of International Men’s Day - which aims to raises awareness of mens’ issues - they raised many arguments in its favour.
Men have higher rates of suicide, are more likely to be homeless, and when they fall prey to domestic violence they are often ignored - all of which problems are neglected in public discourse.
This has not stopped Tory MP Philip Davies, one of the campaign’s most vigorous supporters, from undermining it at practically every turn.
Here’s how he managed it.
This headline and stand-first:
84% of those quoted or mentioned in lead articles are men, and just 16% women
Of these, the men are mostly quoted in their professional capacity, women as victims or celebrities
Male journalists write 78% of all front-page articles
This remark about “self-esteem issues”:
This from the same Times article. On those “apparent” self-esteem issues among female inmates:
Women make up just 5% of the prison population but account for 26% of the self-harm incidents
53% of female prisoners report having experienced abuse as a child, compared to 27% of male ones
65% of women in prison suffer from depression, versus 37% of men
This “fact” about female prisoners:
This - again, from today’s Times article - is flat wrong. According to the Prison Reform Trust there is “no evidence” women are treated more leniently than men in the justice system, but experts are cautious about making direct comparisons between the genders, because...
Female prisoners are more likely to be primary carers
Female offenders are more likely to be coerced in to crimes: 48% reported committing offences to support someone else’s drug habit, compared to 22% of male ones
8% of women have positive employment prospects once they leave jail, versus 27% of men
..all of which may be taken into account when issuing sentences.
Female offenders with no priors are jailed 22% of the time; for men that figure is 12%
In 2014 guards doled out 137 punishments per 100 female prisoners but only 105 for every 100 male ones
This ‘feminist zealots’ gaffe:
Earlier this year Davies told a men’s rights conference that “feminist zealots really do want women to have their cake and eat it”.
The conference was run by an outfit called Justice for Men and Boys - which runs a “lying feminist of the month” contest on its website.
This incident of “mansplaining”:
During the International Men’s Day debate today Davies accused Joanna Cherry QC of not reading her brief - and was accused of “mansplaining” by the SNP’s Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh.
He also complained about the part-time gender pay gap, telling the Commons that “in part-time work, women get paid 6% more than men”. (He did not mention that overall, women still earn 18% less than men).