Twitter users condemn University of York for cancelling International Men’s Day as petition gathers pace

MPs, today, hold a debate in Parliament on male suicide and International Men's Day

Aftab Ali
Student Editor
Thursday 19 November 2015 17:47
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A petition calling for the University of York to reinstate International Men’s Day (IMD) has garnered thousands of signatures as Twitter condemnation of its controversial decision to cancel commemorations rages on.

Ruth Morris - a sociology graduate from the university - took to Change.org to hit out at the institution for making a U-turn on its original plan to celebrate the day after around 200 staff, students, and alumni wrote an open letter to the equality and diversity committee, saying they were “deeply concerned” by the university’s decision to mark IMD.

The letter said: “We believe men’s issues cannot be approached in the same way as unfairness and discrimination towards women, because women are structurally unequal to men.

“The failure of the equality and diversity committee to [understand this] so undermines their self-proclaimed commitment to gender equality, and leaves us deeply concerned their supposed investment in women’s rights is mere lip service.”

On the Change.org website, Morris writes: “True feminists should be fighting for gender equality for both men and women. To cancel men's day is simply hypocritical. Equality is not just for women and should concern all genders.”

“All feminists are being wrongly portrayed here which is simply unfair. We are not man-haters, and the university should go ahead with plans to celebrate all diversity - not just one gender.”

Having gathered almost 3,600 signatures, some of the petition’s supporters voiced their concerns on the university’s decision to backtrack. One wrote: “For the university to have a week to celebrate women's issues and not a single day for men is bloody disgraceful.”

Another said: “There are specific issues that affect men, just as there are specific issues that affect women: men die earlier, [suicide rates are higher], have more difficulty establishing the right of their children to live with them, and are likely to under-report sexual and domestic abuse.”

MPs are, today, holding a debate in Parliament on male suicide and IMD in Westminster Hall after Conservative MP secured a bid with the Backbench Business Committee on 27 October.

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