Mark Easton has blogged about some of the background to the Equal Pay act and what the gender pay gap situation is today. This is all of course in reaction to Harriet Harman's plan to allow positive discrimination. It is a reasonably interesting piece of writing, but as ever these days the comments in response to the article are almost more interesting. One that stands out particularly says:
Why does this Government do everything it can to discriminate agaisnt men. Why do they dislike us so much?
The bring in All women-shortlists banning men from standing for Parliament for them;
they fail to do much on the educational underacheievement of boys;
they do nothing about the suicide rate amongst men being three times higher than that of women;
they spend little money on dealing with male cancers;
they do nothing to help male domestic abuse victims;
they do nothing to create a family court system that treats men and women alike;
and now this.
Why do they hate men? — davidstrauss1
I obviously can't offer expert comment on all the sectors David is commenting on (and want to be careful in case I am treading on any personal issues), however I strongly suspect that a great deal of this is perception. In the same way that we get letters to the metro saying that any time a defendant mentions human rights the judge's hands are tied due to the Human Rights Act, because only the cases where it is used successfully are reported we also only ever get to hear the cases in family courts that cause controversy. I have commented on the fact that soon we shall need to make as much fuss about prostate cancer as breast cancer, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't stop caring about the latter. The cancer point, like domestic abuse and suicide rates also has the facet that it often isn't the government at all that is driving these services, the third sector is quite often the major player.
So how much of this is real and how much is due to fourth estate and their *cough* cheerful outlook on the world?