Militant males declare war on `feminist evil'

Group threatens to flood equal rights commission with complaints of bias
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An organisation for militant males - denounced as a group of "sad misogynists" by its critics - is bombarding the Equal Opportunities Commission with complaints about the treatment of men.

A group of activists belonging to the United Kingdom Men's Movement is intent on "gumming up the works", according to commission officials.

The movement is fighting feminism which it regards as "the greatest social evil of our time" and calling for the abolition of the commission and the repeal of equal rights legislation.

Members of the Men's Movement have embarked on a campaign to inundate the commission with calls urging action over a series of alleged iniquities which serve to undermine the role of men.

Officials at the commission are frustrated by the onslaught because some of the complaints have substance. However, officials are also aware of the organisation's aim to destroy the commission.

"There might come a stage when the public service requirement - whereby the commission is duty-bound to respond in detail to inquiries - becomes ridiculous," said one source close to the commission.

The Men's Movement's latest broadside against "political correctness" came yesterday when it attacked a decision to abolish the lower height limit for firefighters in Northern Ireland, because it amounted to indirect discrimination against women. The commission had pointed out that more women were below the height of 5ft 6in than men.

The men's group yesterday issued a statement pointing out that the maximum height requirement of 6ft 4in discriminated against men because there were more of them above that height.

George McAulay, of the Men's Movement, yesterday argued that height was an important ingredient in assessing whether someone was capable of doing the job.

He said his organisation, of which he is Scottish chairman, formed the "shock troops in the campaign for men's equality". He contended that men suffered discrimination over employment, pensions and divorce. Unmarried fathers had few rights as far as their children were concerned, he said.

Critics of the Men's Movement, which is funded by a claimed membership of "a couple of thousand", argue that its membership varies from intelligent, rational individuals to "nasty people with chips on their shoulders".

Some members have allegedly been abusive on the telephone to officials at the commission and have been told that their inquiries and communications will only be dealt with by letter.