Leading a debate on the occasion of International Men's Day in the House of Commons, Conservative British MP Ben Bradley pushed the issue of challenges faced by men on the table and called for a separate 'minister for men' post to be created just like women in the country. But will it act as a solution to drive out the problem of gender disparity is of concern?
'Why have a minister for women but not one for men?'
The Tory minister drew immense social media criticism for choosing this topic which elongated the debate to continue for a 60-minute period. "Why have a minister for women but not one for men? Why single out one characteristic for special mention?" he questioned the Commons on Thursday.
"Can we ensure equality means just that rather than positive discrimination at the expense of certain groups? 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 had also asked in his speech, "Can we promote the role of fatherhood and stop shying away from the importance of that role?
"Yes, families come in all shapes and sizes, I don't wish to detract from anyone who wants to do things differently, but there's a positive role to be played by an active father that cannot and should not be ignored," he said further.
'Women and men would benefit from a more equal society': Reactions on social media
The MP, who last month suggested that Government cash for children on free school meals went to 'crack dens and brothels', was immediately criticised on Twitter, including by former Labour Home Secretary Jacqui Smith.
"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," Smith replied.
One wrote that they were 'actually convinced Ben Bradley is a parody account and not really an elected MP.' A second added, 'why do we have a National Security and Intelligence Committee and not a National Danger and Idiot Committee? 'Ben Bradley would be in his prime leading that committee.'
At a time when other Britons were equally scathing, the former chief prosecutor of the North-West of England, Nazir Afzal, wrote that Bradley is the 'kind of guy who questions why we have international an International women's day when men have 365 days a year'.
Some in support of the MP's comments said that having a dedicated minister for men would not 'negate' the work of the minister for women.
On Gender equality
The current minister for women, Liz Truss, her official title is Minister for Women and Equalities and she is also Secretary of State of International Trade. Her role has been defined to develop an equalities policy that is based on individual autonomy and dignity and promote equal opportunities for everyone.
It may sound odd but having a separate 'Minister for Men' would not negate in any way the work of a 'Minister for Women'. There may indeed be times when their goals are in conflict, but if that is a reflection of conflicts within society, should this be represented at parliamentary level?
It's true that women in England have gone through a rough phase of gender disparity and it has been only a century when they were awarded legal voting rights. But in a bid to bring in a dramatic change in the lives of women and enable them to contribute more to the economy and society, the British government tried to eliminate the discrimination created the post of the 'Minister for Women'.
In terms of legislation, equality would be having a minister for men as well as women. But do men really need the 'added help'. Women and minorities still 'do' need additional support to bridge gaps on various pedestal, everything from wage discrimination to initial employment. In that case, what the society and men actually need is to name it what it is and i.e. equity.