Dinenage rejects MP's suggestion International Men's Day not taken seriously

An MP who complained that International Men's Day is not being taken seriously by the Government was sharply rebuked by the equalities minister.

Tory Philip Davies, who recently moaned that men are pandering to "feminist nonsense", accused the Department for Women and Equalities of having no plans for the event.

Women and equalities minister Caroline Dinenage said women could be forgiven for thinking every day was Intentional Men's Day, as she reassured him that equality is not a "zero-sum game".

She said this year the event would focus on male suicide, the biggest killer of men aged under 45.

Speaking during equalities questions in the Commons, she added: "While some women might be forgiven for thinking that every day is actually International Men's Day, this year it is in fact on November 19."

"I welcome any initiative that supports gender equality and its meaning in their lives."

Mr Davies replied: "So the answer is that you have no plans. Perhaps your department ought to take International Men's Day as seriously as the Prime Minister has.

"The Prime Minister says 'I recognise the important issues that this event seeks to highlight, including men's health, male suicide rates and the under-performance of boys in schools - these are serious issues which must be addressed in a considered way'.

"Why is International Men's Day not as important to this minister as it is to the Prime Minister?"

Earlier this year Mr Davies spoke at an event for anti-feminism party Justice for Men and Boys, where he complained the drive for "so-called equality" favours women, who want to have their cake and eat it.

Ms Dinenage said Mr Davies was being "a little unfair", adding: "Parents of sons up and down this country, including myself, will all be concerned and conscious about the issues you've mentioned, and indeed the Prime Minister's mentioned.

"However, I am also aware that there are parts of the world where girls are routinely subjected to genital mutilation, forced marriage and sexual violence. 

"For me equality is not a zero-sum game."

To cheers, Labour's Christian Matheson said International Men's Day is an opportunity for fathers of daughters to express concerns about why those daughters might have to wait another 30 years for equal pay.

"Or to give men the platform to express concerns as to why there continues to be a problem in this country and abroad of violence against women and girls."

Ms Dinenage encouraged backbenchers to bid for parliamentary time to mark International Men's Day.

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