Latest News

August 2017

Forms of parental discrimination

Examples where fathers are treated less favourably than
mothers.

PARITY

March 2017

News Briefing

March 2017
England and Wales

PARITY

Parity action group

Sex Discrimination

Non-statutory sex discrimination
Widespread discrimination or inequality arises also from policies, priorities, and prejudices, again much of this being against men.  Examples include:

 

  • Minimal public funding for male victims of domestic violence: government funding to local authorities in respect of domestic violence is essentially to help female victims [see Male Victims of Domestic Abuse] with relatively few authorities providing even emergency accommodation for male victims and almost none refuge or safe-house provision.
  • An almost institutionalised bias against fathers in family law and in the ¡¥closed ¡¦family courts [see Equal Parenting].
  • A general assumption that the head of household is now the primary carer (usually the mother) rather than the main provider (in the past, usually the father), with family benefits and credits aimed accordingly. eg. child tax credit, working tax credit
  • Homelessness - legal requirement for authorities to provide emergency accommodation immediately only to the primary carer. In some circumstances, the secondary carer may be offered low grade single room accommodation with shared facilities but totally unsuitable for visiting children
  • Legal aid - primary carer more likely to be eligible, with child support payments made by the other parent not included in income calculations
  • Often punitive treatment of fathers who do not strictly obey court orders, eg. the separated father who was jailed for waving at his daughter across the street, but usually no punitive measures applied against mothers who regularly defy court orders
  • Greater difficulty faced by men than women in obtaining non-molestation orders or occupation orders against the other partner in situations involving family conflict
  • Except for drug offences, more lenient treatment generally of women by the criminal justice system, including a higher proportion cautioned, a lower proportion charged, and for those convicted a higher proportion receiving noncustodial sentences, and a much lower proportion actually imprisoned
  • Average prison sentences longer for men than for women for similar offences
  • Particular offences for which women tend to be treated more leniently than men include: domestic homicide, child abduction, flouting of court orders (as above), sexual abuse of children, and as perpetrators of domestic violence
  • More sympathetic treatment of women in prison, including wearing their own clothes ¡¥as of right¡¦ (whereas male prisoners have no such right unless transgender), and general recreational amenities
  • Minimal public funding of research into male specific diseases compared to funding for research into female specific diseases.

 

Women also suffer discrimination or inequality, but in other ways which usually attract far more media and political attention

 

Gender conflict issues
In gender conflict issues, such as family breakdown, sex offences, harassment, and domestic violence, there appears to be a disturbing trend, both in legislation and the criminal justice system, towards a form of feminist jurisprudence, now already well established in North America. Indeed, as one English woman journalist has put it, in such matters “the state is taking the side of women against men”.

 

Despite the present numerical male dominance in our parliament, it is most unusual for men’s issues to be raised, let alone properly debated. There is no specific ministerial or parliamentary spokesperson on men’s issues. Legislation hostile or discriminatory to men therefore does not get the scrutiny or critique that it deserves. Without such a political champion, therefore, men generally appear at present to be at a considerable disadvantage in gender conflict issues. As one senior woman MP observed in a published article “Men seem to be sleepwalking through the vast changes that are taking place”. Are we then in the UK on our way, not to a fully ‘equal’ society, but to a feminocracy?

 

Increasing imbalance
The present imbalance between equitable and effective reconciliation of men’s and women’s issues, must either be addressed by extending the ministerial brief of present equality ministers specifically to represent both sexes, or by fielding key ministers and spokespersons on behalf of both sexes. Otherwise, generally, men will be increasingly marginalised

 

PARITY
July 2017

 

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