Letter: Oppressed sex

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Polly Clark (letter, 19 October) will wait a long time to "open [her] newspaper and read that men's lives are stunted by discrimination" - not because their lives are not stunted, but because it is not news. Discrimination against men is so institutionalised that it goes unremarked.

We have had 25 years of legislation and practice aimed at ending discrimination, primarily against women. This has been reasonably effective, even if not as successful as many would have hoped. During that period we have seen no action whatever to reduce, let alone eliminate, discrimination by the state against its male population.

Twenty-five years after equal pay was phased in over a five-year period, the 1995 Pensions Act postponed the easier task of equalising the state retirement age for a further 25 years. The decision of the Government to fight in the European Court to protect its "right" to discriminate against widowers and their children; and to provide prescriptions, reduced- fare or free public transport and most recently heating supplements , to women at a younger age than to men, have seen sparse news coverage. The inexorable increase in the differential spending on health, with the NHS now spending nearly 40 per cent more on women than on men goes unreported and uncriticised.

This society which Ms Clark so dislikes is made up of women as well as men, and for decades women have tended as a group to vote for more reactionary parties than male voters. It is not Yasmin Alibhai-Brown who needs to wake up.


Walsall, West Midlands