Lucy Allan, a Conservative MP for Telford and family rights campaigner, wrote on Twitter that because of the “outrage” at the university, she would speak in the debate inside Parliament. She added: “With 191 women who represent constituents (male + female) we should all be interested in men’s issues too.”
— Lucy Allan MP (@lucyallan) November 18, 2015
Meanwhile, Rachael Maskell, the Labour MP for York Central, told York Vision that it was “important” to be aware of men’s issues. She said: “In Parliament, they are holding a debate on male suicide so important to note that there are issues for men too.”
— Rachael Maskell MP (@RachaelMaskell) November 17, 2015
International Men’s Day is a worldwide event held on November 19. It focuses on mens’ and boys’ health, including those on suicide and family.
But the decision to mark the event has sparked fury after controversial comments by a member of the university’s Equality and Diversity Committee were posted in a press release last week.
An open letter started in protest gathered 200 signatories from students, staff and alumni, and on Monday, senior officials announced they would scrap their plans to host the day.
Students and members of the public have branded the decision “disgusting” and “shameful” and more than 2,000 people have signed a petition calling for the day to be re-instated.
A parliamentary debate on the issue, which will also look at male suicide, will be opened by Philip Davies, the Conservative MP for Shipley.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the University said: “We welcome open and respectful debate on all issues, but over the last few days the nature of that debate in social media has resulted in a distortion of, and distraction from, the core equality issues that the University is seeking to highlight.
“Our intention throughout has been to raise awareness of gender equality issues as part of our work to address all nine protected characteristics covered by the Equality Act. The focus of this work has been and will remain the inequalities faced by women, and in particular the under-representation of women in the senior academic and managerial ranks.
“At the same time, where appropriate we will continue to raise other gender equality issues; one example of these is the comparative reluctance of men to access mental health provision as and when they need it.
“The University’s overriding goal is to ensure that every member of the University community is treated with dignity and respect. We ask all staff and students to abide by this.”