A great shift is in the progress in British society – namely we are moving from a male dominated society to a female dominated one. As with all major social shifts the reasons for this are complex: partly due to women’s emancipation, partly shifting employment patterns and technological changes which have removed the male advantage in physical strength. However, it is also due less welcome factors, such as the ruthlessness and persistence of the feminist movement and its determination to build not an equal society but a matriarchal one where the dice is loaded at every stage in women’s favour – the recent and, for men, terrifying, proposed change in the way rape cases are investigated being a prime example of this.
These shifts have been well underway for several decades, so why are men’s issues not on the political radar? One reason is men’s own reluctance to complain, regarding it as unmanly. A second major factor is the cynicism of the old political class parties: more women vote than men and, critically, are more likely to be floating voters, which the political class parties are most keen to capture in their rush for the centre ground.
Many men are clearly deeply unhappy. Male suicide rates have risen a quarter since 1990 while female ones have stayed static. There is also evidence that young men are increasingly voluntarily opting out of society – a “sexodus” as they feel unwanted and discriminated against. There is no reason to think, as men and boys continue to lag behind women in education and employment prospects, that such deeply destructive trends won’t get worse.
Men’s rights may not be on the agenda at the moment, but they very definitely will be a major issue in future years. However, it must be strongly emphasised that we certainly do not need a mirror image repeat on the mistakes of the feminist movement, with a narrow focus on men’s rights to the exclusion of women. Instead, what we need is recognition that men and women are designed by nature to be interdependent, often different in strengths but mutually beneficial. Properly presented, such an agenda would be popular with both sexes: the vast majority of women are fair minded and feel just as bullied as men do by the feminist agenda and political correctness of our elites: after all, women have husbands, lovers, sons and fathers, and a great many must feel very worried about current trends and the effect they are having on the men that they love, and on themselves.
In short, our society’s current and one-sided approach to gender rights is now desperately out-dated and socially destructive. UKIP is ideally placed to champion a new “gender agenda”, not least because it has a strong tradition of gender meritocracy. Below I detail a non-exhaustive list of suggestions, most of of which are actually about challenging the politically correct cultural consensus rather than enacting legislation. Best of all in these times of austerity – none of them will cost a penny – but could nonetheless have a major impact.
- Approach gender rights in a holistic fashion and in ways that are mutually beneficial to both sexes, rather than in isolation. The impact of legislation designed to help one sex should never be discussed without reference as to how it affects the other.
- Have respect for traditional masculine and feminine roles. In recent years there has been an underlying assumption that the traditional roles of the sexes are somehow morally wrong and in need of change. However most men want to be providers for their families and most women want to be nurturers – and there is nothing whatsoever wrong with that. Note here the word I use is respect, not promotion. People must be free to choose without feeling bullied either way.
- Abolish the quota culture. Concentrate on equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome. The current cultural obsession with gender quotas is demeaning to both sexes. It is insulting to women, who are effectively told that they can’t make it on their own. However, it also sends out a very negative signal to men, as the underlying subtext is that any area of life that is masculine dominated is somehow morally wrong.
- Stop the nationalisation of the family. Subsidised childcare is cynically used by politicians desperate to force more women out to work as a short-term fix for deep-seated economic problems. It is also favoured by the kind of high-flying women who become career politicians, but is not wanted by the majority of women, who consistently say in surveys they would like to spend more time with the children rather than going out to work. However it effectively nationalises both the role of the father and the mother, with long term very damaging consequences: as the state increasingly assumes the role of provider, both sexes start to see fathers as superfluous to family life, and single parenthood increases.
- Vigorously promote marriage. Proven over hundreds of years, Marriage is by far the best social arrangement for binding together men, women and children. As Fraser Nelson explains here, it is married couples who are discriminated against in the tax system, because they are much more likely to stay together than co-habiting ones. Family breakdown costs the country a whacking £45bn a year so married couples effectively subsidise unmarried ones enormously. We need robust married persons’ tax allowance of around £1000 per year to redress this. In the short term, this can be paid for by scrapping subsidised child care. In the long term, it would be least be partially self-financing, as the huge costs associated with family breakdown will be reduced.
No doubt readers will have their own list of ideas, but the first step must be to challenge the politically correct cultural consensus around gender rights, which so completely distort existing debate. It is absolutely certain is that issues of gender rights are going to change very radically in the years ahead, as the increasing damage to society of current politically correct policies become impossible to conceal. UKIP can – and should – be in the forefront of progressive change with a new “gender agenda” which will start to repair our fragmented and unhappy society.