I am happy to take cases of discrimination against anyone. In my experience, the women who have approached me for assistance have been individually badly treated, but they did not have evidence of systemic or institutional discrimination, simply a one-off. When men have approached me with any of the following problems, it is clear that ALL of these are systemic and institutionalised (mostly) indirect anti-male discrimination.
Here is my list – all children cases are indirect discrimination against men as all cases form part of the ‘winner takes all system’ where by 100% of the benefits and tax credits of having a child go to the main carer, 90%+ the mother:
Challenging Humphreys on appeal to Supreme Court
Child Benefit, Child Tax Credit – only payable to one parent
Working Tax Credit – 16 hours/week min level for payment for primary carer, 30 hours/week for secondary carer
Housing Benefit/Council Tax Benefit – earnings threshold before deducting from benefits is based on an allowance for being in a ‘family’ and then so much per child – only for main carer. Secondary carer only gets basic allowance of £65.45/week.
Income Support – payable to a primary carer when have a child under 7, nothing to separated carer – primary carer does not need to be looking for work or off-sick to qualify, secondary carer needs to be looking for work (Job-Seekers) or off-sick (Employment and Support Allowance ESA) to qualify – paid at same rate.
School uniform grants etc. payable only to primary carer – unless primary carer passes them on to secondary carer (yeah, right!), secondary carer has to provide separate wardrobe and no grants available (sometimes crisis loans/community grant)
Information on a child’s progress is not routinely shared with the secondary parent
Secondary parents are not consulted when discussing ANY options concerning a child’s education – only one signature is required.
Child Support Agency
3 reincarnations of formula with a 4th starting next year.
CSA-1 – ‘fairer’ in that it takes primary carer’s earnings into account before assessing secondary carer and has maximum limit of around £500/month, then flat rate at 15/20/25% of net earnings – some variations for exceptional circumstances (if you work at a distance and travel more than 150 miles/week to work ‘as the crow flies’, then can reduce ‘earnings’ by 10p/mile for excess over 150 miles/week (honestly - you could not make it up!) Below minimum threshold of earnings (around £120/week) pay nothing.
CSA-2 changes to thresholds and variations
CSA-3- ‘ no longer takes primary carer’s earnings into account, secondary carer assessment simplified and hence far less ‘fair’ – no minimum earnings threshold – must pay £5/week if net earnings are between zero and £100/week, over £200/week pay 15/20/25% in between sliding scale.
CSA-4: starts April 2011 – based on gross earnings instead of net earnings!
For a ‘long’ marriage, division of assets mainly to primary carer where there are children under 18 in family regardless of who earned the money.
Spousal maintenance still paid in some cases where ‘difference’ in earnings
When determining whether applicant is in ‘priority need’ for housing under the homeless legislation, local authorities can accept only primary carers as being parents and hence automatically qualifying for homeless assistance and hence social housing. Secondary carers are not considered as parents for the purposes of homelessness assessment.
Home-link – choice-based lettings
An ordinary application for housing would place primary carers at a higher priority than secondary carers and would allocate more bedrooms to their application. For example, Cambridge City Council’s policy states that a primary carer of 1 child could apply for a 2-bedroom property, a secondary carer with staying contact could apply for a 1-bedroom property.
Women automatically are called for breast and cervical screening on regular intervals; men have no screening program and hence are far less likely to visit their GP and have a poorer five-year life expectancy following most cancers as they present too late.
300 men per year are diagnosed with breast cancer.
30,000 men/year are diagnosed with prostate cancer – a simple annual PSA blood test (from aged 40-50) would result in 96% of prostate cancer being detected early reducing significantly deaths from prostate cancer (as has happened in America where they have to pay privately for the tests)
Most surgeries are open only 9-5 Monday to Friday making them inaccessible disproportionately to men
Children’s Medical records are not routinely shared with secondary parents
Children’s medical procedures/tests require only one signature and hence secondary parents are excluded from knowing or choosing what is happening to their child.
Hormone Replacement Therapy – provided for free by NHS for women – men have to pay privately yet has same benefits for men as for women (I use it and have to pay privately)
As with all medical issues - men are taught from an early age
not to cry, not to complain and to go and work long hours and not take
time off sick as they would be a 'wuss'. As a result, men are less
likely to report depression but more likely to commit suicide. Men
have shorter life expectancies but higher retirement age, men have a
poorer 5-year survival rate on most cancers etc. yet most medical
research is directed towards women's issues!
A few ideas to get you started!
There is inequality in provision of resources for victims of domestic abuse. Whilst there is a dispute over the relative percentage breakdown (most recent stats indicate that 40% of DV victims are male, the provision of refuges and the treatment of victims is 99% female, only 1% male. The well-advertised ‘national DV helpline’ does not state that it is only for women. The answering machine message while you wait to get through does not state that it is only for women –the presumption being that there are NO male victims. There is, in fact, one very small charity (ManKind), offering support to male victims. Some other groups provide support to any victims (eg SNAP)
Since the overwhelming amount of evidence indicates that children from broken families who have little or no contact with their fathers are significantly more likely to end up in crime, drugs, teenage pregnancy, alcoholism, mental health issues, prison etc, it makes no sense (to me) to continue with the above indirect discrimination against men, given the disastrous outcomes.
Women too can be dysfunctional, unable to form good relationship and prove a good role model.
If women wish to fully achieve in the workplace then they should allow men to fully achieve at home with the children. In the absence of equal treatment at home, then there can never be equal achievement at work.
I appreciate receiving an indication of the coalition’s policies to tackle the above inequalities in due course.