Men's 'domestic day' infuriates women

The mayor of the village of Torredonjimeno in Andalusia is trying to strike an imaginative blow for women's rights by declaring that between 9pm and 2am every Thursday night the men of the village must stay at home to help with domestic chores.

But the scheme went awry on its first night last night when women's groups condemned the planned curfew as "demagogic" and "ridiculous".

Javier Checa's idea was to keep men away from nocturnal drinking and strolling spots, and encourage them to make dinner, clean the house and look after the children - tasks that usually fell to their womenfolk.

The women would be offered a night off for a change and the chance to attend debates, courses and conferences on women's rights, the Mayor said. The men would also be expected to donate €5 (£3.50) to associations working for women's rights.

Mr Checa, from the conservative Andalusist party, said his aim was to express male solidarity with women's rights. But local people dismissed the initiative which they said "provoked widespread derision".

The former mayor Miguel Anguita, of the United Left party, said matters of sexual equality and domestic violence "were too serious to be treated in this way".

Manuel Bueno, the village council's spokesman for the Socialists, said Mr Checa's decree violated the principles of sexual equality. The decree was "surprising and absurd" and would have "no effect".

So the men of Torredonjimeno can go back to their normal ways, it seems - perhaps after they have done the washing up.