Lib Dem leader Clegg backs report from men’s public policy coalition

4 November 2009

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has given his backing to the Coalition of Men and Boys’ report, Man Made: Men, masculinities and equality in public policy, launched this week.

The Fatherhood Institute is a member of the Coalition, which also includes the Men’s Health Forum, Action for Children, Relate, Respect and the White Ribbon Campaign. Our deputy chief executive, David Bartlett, sits on COMAB’s steering group.

About Man Made

Man Made looks in detail at the issues of violence, fatherhood, education, work, and health, and shows that public policy fails to engage with masculinity issues even though recent equality legislation (the gender equality duty) requires the different needs of both sexes to be taken into account.

The report, funded by the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the Government Equalities Office, was launched at a meeting for MPs and peers in the House of Lords addressed by: MHF CEO Peter Baker, who is also chair of the Coalition; Sandy Ruxton, lead author of the report; Mary-Ann Stephenson of the Women’s National Commission; and Dr Neil Wooding, a Commissioner for the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Mr Clegg’s comments

Mr Clegg described the report as ‘really important’ and including ‘very compelling research, a lot of it very chilling reading’.

‘You are also kind of opening an envelope, if you like, in the public debate which has been closed for too long. Because of the relative advantages enjoyed by men, advantages which persist, people have been reluctant to drill below that relationship of inequality to actually highlight the fact that for some groups of men, whether it’s Asian men who are discriminated against or older men who find it difficult to access health care or, of course, the systemic underperformance of young boys, particularly boys from white working class backgrounds, African Caribbean backgrounds, we’re just not dealing with those parts of society enough.

‘If we do that it seems to me we not only recognise their disadvantages, but we actually help, I think, to deal with a lot of the social ills that befall women in a holistic fashion.’

What COMAB says

Coalition chair Peter Baker added: ‘The time is now right for public policy to address men, boys and masculinity in a more sophisticated way. We can’t respond effectively to the many problems men and boys cause and the problems they face unless and until there is a genuine cross-government strategic commitment to focus on masculinity in the development of public policy.

‘We need to tackle the long-hours working culture, improve men’s use of primary healthcare, encourage services to engage more actively with fathers, and develop programmes to educate men and boys about healthy relationships to combat violence against women. Men and boys have great potential to contribute positively to strategies in these areas, and many are actively doing so. We must reach a tipping point, where the majority come to recognise the benefits – for themselves, women and children – of greater equality.’

Read the report

To download the report and find out more about the Coalition and its work, click here.