On 20th October 2015, the new Women’s Equality Party (WEP) held a publicity event to launch their policy document. BBC Parliament carried the entire 23 minute speech by their party leader, Sophie Walker. WEP has enjoyed a very great deal of BBC attention since its inception, uniquely so for a new political party. Here I give my response to all the points raised by Ms Walker in the speech.
The whole speech was delivered with an air of unassailable rectitude. To some of us, such smug certainty contrasts hideously with our view of the world. There is a stark difference between the demands of the feminist front, as exemplified here by the WEP, and the concerns of the men’s rights movement (MRM). The feminists want power, whereas the MRM is exercised by issues of basic human rights and equality.
Ms Walker’s speech is useful in making it absolutely clear that the acquisition of power is the whole point of the WEP. The number one WEP objective is equal (50/50) representation in parliament. That is overtly about power. Their number two issue is equal pay, but, as Ms Walker states explicitly, that is because money is power. The only issue which may not seem to be about power, to the uninitiated, is violence against women. But actually it is, of course, for two reasons. Firstly because – as Ms Walker again makes clear explicitly – it’s a funding thing. And money is power in this context too, as anyone acquainted with Women’s Aid will recognise. Secondly, VAWG is about power because the victim narrative has always been feminism’s main weapon: it triggers the white knight response.
So, all the WEP demands are actually about power. And what will they do with that power? They will use it to acquire more power still, of course.
Here is my point by point response to Ms Walker’s speech (her points in italic quotes).
“The WEP is about creating the kind of politics where women and men are heard equally.”
Excellent, we can start by agreeing then. So when do men’s issues get the same exposure on the BBC as WEP?
“The WEP is a collaboration of people…..who share the determination to see women enjoy the same rights and opportunities as men”
The same rights as men. Are you sure? Ms Walker, please name one right which men have that women do not have. Stuck? I think you would be because otherwise your speech would undoubtedly have mentioned such a thing. But here are some rights which women enjoy but men do not: (i) the right to genital integrity, (ii) the right to know whether a child is biologically theirs, (iii) the right to equal treatment before the law, (iv) the right to an equal life expectancy, (v) the right to retain a meaningful relationship with their children after partnership break-up, (vi) the right to equal compassion and services when victimised. As for opportunities, Ms Walker, the only disparity I can think of is in relation to the armed services. Women do, of course, have the right and the opportunity to join the armed services. But, to be fair, they do not have the opportunity to take part in those actions which are most likely to result in death or injury. Men do still enjoy an advantage in being killed or maimed, as always. I’ll give you that one.
“It’s nearly 100 years since women won the right to vote.”
And it’s been exactly the same time since 50% of men won the right to vote. In the case of men, nearly a million of them had to die to achieve that. And, incidentally, Ms Walker, it was the deaths of those men which achieved the vote for women – not the suffragettes. Your ignorance is embarrassing.
“Men outnumber women in parliament two-to-one”
So what? The Labour Party is feminist, the Lib-Dems are feminist, the Conservatives are feminist, the SNP is feminist, Plaid Cymru is feminist and the Greens are feminist. Just look at how many MPs of all political parties have been photographed wearing the “this is what a feminist looks like” tee shirt. The Prime Minister (David Cameron at the time) bows to the feminist lobby: he savaged his cabinet in the last parliament specifically to promote women, on grounds of gender. Men in power do not favour men. Women make the mistake of believing they do because women in power do favour women.
What good has David Cameron’s penis ever done me?
Women account for 39% of the total hours worked in the country (see below), so the fact that 1-in-3 MPs is a woman is actually about commensurate with the national average representation of women in all forms of employment.
Ms Walker claimed that, if the WEP get their way, parliament will be 50/50 within a decade. Well, Ms Walker, if you’d taken the trouble to look at the trend you would know that parliament is likely to be 50/50 within a decade without any involvement of the WEP. Here’s the relevant histogram,
The hikes in the number of female MPs in 1997 and 2015 were, of course, due to all-women short-listing of one sort or another, a gender bias facilitated by Harriet Harman’s 2010 Equalities Act. That’s an insufficient pro-female bias to satisfy the WEP it would appear.
“Women’s experiences of work, healthcare, crime and education are not heard”
Oh, it does make me laugh when women complain they are not being heard. Try being an advocate for men’s issues. I will deal with work below. So, firstly…healthcare. You are kidding me, right? Female specific health issues receive far more funding than male specific issues. The disparity in the attention given to breast and cervical cancer (with £250M national screening programmes) compared with prostate cancer (no screening programme, you need to be pro-active to protect yourself, even partially) is notorious – well, it should be anyway. The fact that girls are immunised by the State against human papilloma virus (HPV) whilst boys are not, despite being almost equally at risk, is an outrage – but no one cares. You won’t hear that bit of discrimination being discussed on Woman’s Hour. Around 8,000 more men die of cancer each year than woman, they are more likely to get the disease and have a higher mortality when they do. What male-specific research is underway to ascertain why? More males than females die each year in every age range from 1 month old to 74 years old.
Cutting through the details on health care, the bottom line is that men’s life expectancy is shorter than women’s. It always has been. So is this innate, biological? No. I used to think so. But if attention is focussed on affluent areas one finds that the gender gap in life expectancy is virtually zero or benefits men. Over the UK as a whole, men can expect to live to 79, compared with women’s 83. But in the poorest areas, men’s life expectancy is up to 10 years less than women’s. The discrepancy is therefore a result of environment and lifestyle, not biology. But neither Ms Walker nor anyone else is much concerned with this rather serious disadvantage of men – less life.
Now let’s consider crime. There are two issues: how victimisation breaks down by gender and how the two sexes are treated in the criminal justice system. As for the latter, I have already addressed this in some detail, here and here, the staggering conclusion being that if men were treated like women, about three-quarters of men in prison would not be there. The fact that there are twenty times more men in prison than women is mostly (but not entirely) the result of gender discrimination. As for the relative incidence of victimisation of the two sexes, I address this below – men being the predominant victims of violent crimes (even if sexual crimes are included within the violent crimes).
But finally, education. You have the bloody nerve, Ms Walker, to imply that females are disadvantaged in our education system? Boys and young men are dropping through the floor at all stages of education: primary, secondary and tertiary. That this male disadvantage has come about during the glorious march of feminism might just be more than coincidence, given that teaching is dominated by women, and given that schools, and the teaching unions, are a feminist stronghold. The evidence of teacher bias against boys is substantial and widespread. The number of first degrees awarded to women exceeds that to men by 33% (and by 34% at post-graduate level).
This is the sort of equality which the Women’s Equality Party will encourage.
“Two women are killed by a partner or ex-partner every week”
I suspect there is a house rule that any feminist who speaks anywhere must say this or be drummed out of the sisterhood. The actual data for women killed by a partner or ex-partner in England & Wales were 76 in 2012/13 and 84 in 2013/14. The corresponding figures for men were 15 and 24 respectively. Oddly the latter are never worth mentioning. The most important thing about these figures is that they are small.
Compare these figures, for example, with the 3740 male suicides in 2012 which increased to 4001 in 2013 (data for England & Wales only). Just the increase in the number of male suicides in one year was more than three times the number of women killed by partners.
Staggeringly, in every age range from 1 month old to 74 years old, a far greater number of males die than females, hugely disproportionate to their relative populations. On average about 50% more men die than women in the age range 1 month to 74 years, see here. When it comes to disadvantage, being dead takes some beating. And when it comes to dying, men’s dominance remains unchallenged.
“For many of us the fear of being attacked is something they live with daily.”
The number of homicides, excluding those attributed to partner violence noted above, were 365 male victims and 95 female victims (a ratio of 3.8) in 2012/13. In 2013/14 there were 319 male victims and 99 female (a ratio of 3.2). Hence, women are three to four times less likely than men to suffer homicide outside the home.
As regards violent crimes short of homicide, men are also substantially more likely to be victims – by about a factor of two in cases of serious injury – see the histogram below.
Married people were notably less likely to be the victims of violence (0.9%) than single people (3.8%). Men were far more likely to be a victim of stranger violence than women (1.4% and 0.4%, respectively) whilst the gender breakdown of domestic violence is not far off parity (approximately 60% female and 40% male victims in the UK, whilst the PASK report indicates that unidirectional partner violence is twice as likely to be against male victims).
All these data show that women have far less reason to be fearful of violent attack than men. Moreover, the rate of violent crime has been falling precipitously for twenty years, standing now at only one-third the rate in 1995, as the graph below shows (for England & Wales),
As regards sexual offences, the number of reports to the police have increased by 20% in the last year, standing at a total of 64,205 incidents (data for England & Wales, year ending September 2014). Within this, the number of reports of rape was 20,745 incidents. Note, however, that the number of convictions for rape in 2014 was 1,164, a very different figure indeed (and note that this figure includes 84 male victims). This rate of attrition between reports of rape and convictions for rape exercises feminists a great deal. In their view, all 20,745 of the accused are guilty.
However, even if this were true – and even if all these victims were women (they aren’t) – note that the incidence of non-sexual violent crime is vastly greater. Despite having reduced three-fold in twenty years, there are still 1.3 million violent crimes per year. Since male victims of violent crimes outnumber female victims, adding sexual crimes into the equation does not alter this picture of predominantly male victimisation. Of course, feminists will argue that sex crimes against women are of transcendent horror and cannot be compared to mere crimes of violence against men. But since sexual assault might mean simply unwanted touching, whilst violent crime might leave the victim crippled for life, this is an attitude which hardly stands scrutiny.
“Our children are held back by the limitations imposed on them by gender stereotypes.”
Where is the evidence for this statement? The Nordic experience is that it is immensely difficult to coerce girls into areas of work which they would not otherwise have chosen. And any small gains are reversed as soon as the (costly) ‘encouragement’ stops. In contrast, closer gender parity in “men’s jobs” is found in developing nations where there is a stronger financial incentive to counter natural inclination. For years, even decades now, there have been huge efforts expended on encouraging girls into STEMM areas. I have reviewed just a portion of these endeavours here. As this review shows, the supposed gender-neutral concern is a pretence. No efforts of significance have been made to get more men into teaching, especially primary teaching. Of course not, that’s the last thing the sisterhood would want. They want a free hand for their feminist indoctrination programme masquerading as Sex and Relationship Education. But there is an entire, government sponsored machine, Athena Swan, for shaming universities and research establishments, or even stopping their funding, if they fail to promote women in STEMM. The sisterhood are going to damn well get more women in STEMM whether women want to or not. Why? Because it is a source of power they have not yet annexed.
“The gender pay gap is behind so many of the problems women face. Last year men earned £516 billion whilst women earned only £271 billion. Why? Because millions of women are being paid less than their male colleagues.”
This is outright mendacity. No, I’m not going to rehearse the arguments as to why the gender pay gap is a fraud, it’s been done thoroughly over and over again (see here and here and here and here and here to list but a few). This remark deliberately gives the impression that women are being paid less for the same work as men. Preposterous. That would be illegal. It would immediately attract union action. And, in any case, the market would end up either employing only women in such a case, or it would move to eliminate the pay difference. The cases which are actually brought to tribunal do not involve men and women doing the same work, but different work which has been arbitrarily claimed to be equivalent. The infamous Birmingham case, for example, which involved dinner ladies being claimed to have an equivalent role to bin men, despite the free market having ruled otherwise. The outcome of this case is crippling the Birmingham council and forcing them to sell such major assets as the NEC. According to Jess Phillips, MP, in her maiden speech to parliament, this is justified because this “injustice” has existed “since time immemorial”. Ah, yes, the mythical centuries of oppression which justify anything you want.
What Ms Walker does not bother to mention is the gross difference in the number of hours worked by men and women. The bulk of the difference between the two earnings figures is because men work 602 million hours per week compared with women’s 383 million hours per week (data from April-June 2014, see here, or similar figures can be deduced from the annual survey of hours and earnings). Ms Walker is deliberately misleading her audience (and the audience laps it up with incessant applause).
And, of course, men pay vastly more income tax than women. The reason is that they earn more – but recall that the principal reason that men earn more is because they work more hours. The reward for working more hours is that a larger proportion of your gross income is taken in tax. Whilst the ratio of men’s gross earnings to women’s gross earnings is ~1.9, the ratio of men’s income tax payments to women’s income tax payments is 2.57. (Data taken from fy 2012/13, UK income and tax by gender and region 2012/13). Some 17.3 million men paid income tax totalling £113 billion compared with 13.3 million women who paid income tax totalling £44 billion. Men are paying an average of £3.61 in income tax per hour worked, whilst women pay an average of £2.21. If the much vaunted gender pay gap, averaged over all full time workers at all ages, were based on earnings net of income tax, rather than gross earnings, the current “gap” of ~10% (see annual survey of hours and earnings) would disappear. In other words, the tax system already reduces the all-ages gender pay gap on take-home pay to zero.
But the sisterhood, at least the more intelligent sisters, know full well that it is not unfair hourly rates that account for men’s greater earnings. They know that, in the 20 to 40 age range the hourly pay gap for full time workers, even based on gross pay, is essentially zero (or even slightly in favour of women). The sisterhood know that the real “problem” is that women work fewer hours. What they actually want is to boot more women out of their homes for longer. But they can’t say that. It wouldn’t go down well with the ladies if expressed that way. So instead they dress it up as male oppression. That’s the way they get the turkeys to vote for Christmas.
And this is why the government backs the feminist cause. They have their eye on the difference between the £113 billion income tax paid by men and the £44 billion paid by women. They know full well this is mainly due to hours worked. That’s why the State is keen to support child care, even if it costs a bit, because the prize, as they see it, is several tens of billions.
What feminists, as exemplified by the WEP, actually want is to smash the nuclear family, to have children raised by the State, and for both parents to work full time continuously. This is why, incidentally, the unions, the State and Global Capital are all so keen to back feminism. These strange bedfellows all benefit from increasing the pool of workers. Whether leading feminists are truly the useful idiots of Capital is debatable, but women who support the feminist cause in ignorance certainly are. They have been conned into believing that toil is freedom. They have been hoodwinked into believing that handing their children over to State-sponsored others to raise is what they truly desire. Take a look at the fruits of feminism, ladies: acres of man deserts housing poverty stricken single mothers; an epidemic of post-middle-aged women longing for male company in vain because so many men have been too burnt by the family courts to want anything further to do with women.
“The gender pay gap is not just a gap in earnings but a gap in power.”
Thanks for making your motivation clear. No further comment.
“Without the inspirational work of the suffragettes we would have no women in parliament at all.”
False. You have merely fallen for your own propaganda. The suffragettes did little or nothing positive to advance the cause of female suffrage. That there are women in parliament you may put down to the deaths of 880,000 men and boys in the trenches of the Great War. That women got the vote owes more to the Kaiser than the Pankhursts. Your ignorance about your own specialist subject is embarrassing.
“Without the women’s liberation movement the Equal Pay Act of 1970 would not exist.”
I have an advantage on Ms Walker here – I recall 1970, whereas she was not born. Feminism in the UK did not take off until a little later. The Female Eunuch was published only in that year, and we may assume that the conditions and debates which led to the Equal Pay Act took some years to build. The 1960s were a time of great social change, and this was not driven by feminism (though later it would be). Women were leaving the home and moving into the world of work because technology had made housework less labour intensive, because the pill had enabled women to delay pregnancy, and because technological and economic advance was creating non-manual tasks in the workplace which were congenial for women. It was a matter of simple fairness to react to this mass social movement with a fair pay policy. What feminists never mention is that the 1970 Act, and later similar Acts, were enacted by a legislator which was 95% male. Quite how that is supposed to be an oppressive patriarchy beats me. So, sorry, Ms Walker, I’m not convinced that feminism was crucial to the 1970 Act, though, to be fair, it probably was instrumental in later Acts – always remembering that they were all – including the most recent Bills – passed by a male dominated parliament. For a bunch of misogynists, they sure weren’t doing it right.
“We are not a special interest party.”
If WEP is not a special interest party then why do their policies have nothing whatsoever to say about: the economy; the national debt; the EU; the NHS; the migrant crisis; foreign policy; defence; etc., etc. Give me strength!
“Equality belongs to us. The political system belongs to us.”
Holy crap, your script editor shouldn’t have let that through. Thanks, though. Understood. Equality is your bitch. Got it. The political system is your bitch. Check.
“Schools should be judged on the way they teach gender equality and the way they deliver it.”
You mean like schools in China during the cultural revolution were judged on how well they taught the Thoughts of Chairman Mao?
“Already the boys in my little girl’s class think she’s second class. I can’t bear the thought that sexist oppressive attitudes are going to accompany her right through school.”
The situation of Ms Walker’s daughter may be atypical since she suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome, I believe. I observe only that the usual situation is that both girls and boys of age 7 onwards consider girls to be the cleverer and destined to do better at school. And they do, of course. As for girls being subject to “sexist oppressive attitudes” in schools dominated by women and feminism, I’m sorry, it’s just not credible. Boys, on the other hand, are taught that they are intrinsically toxic from the word go, even Doris Lessing thought so – and Christina Hoff Sommers consolidated the fact.
“We can deliver Sex and Relationship Education so that our children’s first romantic forays are as they should be: respectful, consensual, joyful.”
And by implication, at the present time, and since time immemorial, romantic forays have been disrespectful, non-consensual and joyless – because we had not feminism to guide us. Thank you, feminism. Thank you for giving us joy and consent to have sex. On a more serious note, we may hope that SRE puts boys off sex altogether – for their own sake. They’d probably be happier that way. School lessons normal do put you off things.
“It’s about freeing families from the exorbitant cost of childcare.”
No it isn’t. It’s about getting more women into work to increase the collective power of women, and hence the power of feminism. You are merely trying to increase the size of your army. And like most despots who grow an army in order to increase their own power, you don’t really care about the wellbeing of your troops. They are just cannon fodder.
“600,000 women would prefer to work if they could afford to do so.”
And how many would prefer not to work if they could afford not to? 14 million?
“We believe that government funded childcare should be available for all children from the end of paid parental leave. We would fully fund this by introducing a single rate of tax relief on pension savings…and by that means free up the required £6.5B”
I presume this means eliminating relief on pension savings at the higher tax rates, something that applies only to higher earners. This would mean that the money would come disproportionately from men – intentionally, of course. It is already the case that the taxation system and the benefit system together provide a mechanism for transferring money from men to women. The suggested WEP policy is more of the same. Men have always been providers – the sociologist Steven L Nock defined a man as “someone who produces more than he consumes”. But men used to be rewarded for this by enjoying an emotionally satisfying intimate relationship with the woman, and children, for whom he was providing. The anonymous transference of money from men, via the State, to women whom they do not know provides no benefit to men at all. This is not an equitable arrangement. A tipping point will come when men realise that striving for the benefit of unknown recipients is stupid. At that point men will stop striving and the economy will collapse.
Just a brief personal note (unprofessional, I know). I am in receipt of a company pension. If I were female it would be 4% larger. No reason, other than being female.
“Our aim is to make women free and equal.”
Women are already free and enjoy equal opportunities. Men, however, are disadvantaged in respect of several basic human rights, and are subject to systemic denigration.
“VAWG remains one of the highest barriers to gender equality.”
Correct. VAWG is a cold-bloodedly constructed power-play aimed at creating and maintaining gender inequality by villainising one sex and monopolising compassion for the other.
“Sometimes being free from sexual violence means just being able to walk down the street in peace.”
In other words, a man addressing a woman in public without being spoken to first is guilty of sexual assault. This is the Daisy Buchanan version of women’s equality. It is projection, by the way. Such women find men so repugnant that they project their own sexism onto the man. He becomes a ‘creep’, not because of his behaviour, but because of her belief system. Feminism is a religion in which femaleness is identified with sanctity. For the unclean to address the anointed is sacrilege.
“Our country has a gendered culture where men are seen as entitled to dominate.”
Our country has a gendered culture from which men are becoming increasingly desperate to escape.
“The WEP believes in the absolute right to a place of sanctuary for women and children and other survivors of sexual and domestic abuse…..It is essential to fund support services to help women rebuild their lives.”
This is the WEP signalling to their allies, Women’s Aid and Refuge (cf., the relationship between the Labour Party and the unions). The important word here is “fund”. I particularly enjoyed the almost-egalitarian reference to “other survivors” – followed immediately by “it is essential to fund services for women”. Lovely stuff.
“We must address the shamefully low prosecution rate for sexual and domestic violence.”
Taking into account the law of diminishing returns, this would suggest concentrating hard on female perpetrators. I suspect this is not what Ms Walker had in mind.
“Women should never be criminalised for selling sex….Within two years we will legislate to criminalise the purchase of sex.”
I’m happy with the first half of that statement, other than it might be extended to men too. But only feminists could come up with the two statements together. Two people are engaged in the same transaction – one is a criminal and the other is not. Criminality is determined not by what you do, but by what you are. This is the theme which runs throughout “feminist jurisprudence”. And if you argue that the situation is not symmetrical because one side is selling and the other buying, then it just gets worse. Take the analogy with buying and selling street drugs. Both parties are breaking the law, but the courts (and the public) regard the seller as more reprehensible than the buyer, not the other way around. No, I’m not suggesting prostitution should be illegal, quite the opposite. I’m merely pointing out that criminalising only the man has no reasoning behind it whatsoever. The real reason why feminists are so opposed to prostitution and porn is that they lower the price of their stock. They do not want men to have any outlets for sex other than themselves, so they remain in control.
Feminism is simple. Absolutely everything in feminism is aimed at enhancing their power and control.
I do wonder what would happen under this Nordic model. Suppose a man buys a woman dinner, and perhaps gives her a present, and later they have sex. Is he now a criminal? Perhaps he is just a criminal when she says so? One can foresee cases coming to court which turn out to hinge, rather embarrassingly, on when a woman is a woman and when a woman is a prostitute. This would not be terribly good PR for women as a class.
“Our policies support ordinary women and help them overcome the challenges of living and working in a structurally sexist society.”
No, the feminist ethos encourages ordinary women to believe that they live and work in a structurally sexist society and that feminism is their friend and saviour. But it isn’t. What freed women from the domestic drudgery of Victorian times was men’s technology, men’s medical advances, and legislation passed by a male dominated parliament. This gave women the option to enter the world of work instead. Feminism’s only contribution is to insist that this isn’t optional.
“We have decided as a temporary measure that quotas are necessary.”
You amaze me.
“Political Parties should field women in two-thirds of seats including two-thirds of safe seats.”
The claim was that this would result in a 50-50 parliament. Why? In the last election 26% of candidates were women and this resulted in 29% of MPs being women. This suggests that if two-thirds of candidates were women, if anything slightly more than two-thirds of MPs would be women. This is what Ms Walker really wants.
I have an alternative suggestion. Why piss about? Let’s ban men from standing completely at the next election. Let’s see what happens when parliament is 100% women. It should be great viewing. Also, they will pass the most stupendously anti-male Acts that it might, it just might, finally wake up the bovine male masses to what is going on.
“We want a balance in Boards of all listed Companies by 2025. It will eradicate the centuries old system of unwritten quotas which have created institutions in which a wealthy, white male elite wields far more power than the rest of us.”
Great finale, Ms Walker! Ending on the right note – power. Nice touch that, bringing in the approved racist-sexist angle. Damned white male patriarchal shitlords! Wrest the power from their greedy hands and finally all will be well with the world.
In Summary: None of the WEP policies have any legitimacy. Not one.
Inevitably there have already been calls from some feminists that WEP is not radical enough in its policies. Nicola Sturgeon, for example, is not feminist enough for the Scottish sisterhood. As Jeremy Corbyn found out before her, merely choosing a shadow cabinet which is 50/50 men and women is not enough. The sisterhood always want more. Demanding more is all they know how to do. So, have no doubt, if the UK parliament does become gender 50/50, with WEP support or otherwise, you can be sure that it will make no difference to feminist claims of oppression. These claims would not end even if all MPs, high court judges, Board members, professors, etc., were 100% women. They would simply move their focus elsewhere and the intensity of grievance mongering would be undiminished. This will continue to be the case until feminism is seen for what it is: a disease of the mind, a disease of the spirit.