Gosport’s MP has dismissed suggestions that International Men’s Day is not being taken seriously enough by the government.
Women and equalities minister Caroline Dinenage sharply rebuked fellow Tory MP Philip Davies, who recently moaned men are pandering to ‘feminist nonsense.’
He also accused the Department for Women and Equalities of having no plans for the event.
Speaking during equalities questions in the Commons this morning, Ms Dineage said women could be forgiven for thinking every day was Intentional Men’s Day, as she reassured Mr Davies that equality is not a ‘zero-sum game’.
She said this year the event - on November 19 - would focus on male suicide, the biggest killer of men aged under 45.
She added: ‘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.’