Mark Brooks is chairman of The ManKind Initiative charity and former parliamentary candidate for Middlesbrough South & East Cleveland.
The Government's Equalities Bill is not only designed to streamline the equalities law but also to bring in measures such as extending the scope of positive action. However, the bill hides a quite stark example of discrimination – there has been a Minister for Women ever since the Labour Government was elected in 1997, yet no Minister for Men.
Currently there are three Ministers for Women (Harriet Harman, Maria Eagle and Vera Baird) and they work under the auspices of the Government’s Equalities Office which sponsors the Equalities Commission and the Women’s National Commission. There is no Men’s National Commission.
In response, the Conservatives have had a Shadow Minister for Women, currently Theresa May, and it is unlikely this will change with a coming Conservative Government. In an ideal world, there should not be a Minister for any gender because Ministers should be Ministers for everyone, however we are where we are.