By Jessica Geen -
Dominic Raab, the 37-year-old MP for Esher and Walton in Surrey, claimed that men should start “burning their briefs” in protest at the “raw deal” they get compared to women.
In an article for PoliticsHome, he argued that men are discriminated against from birth to death and are disadvantaged in a range of areas, including education, parental rights and the fact that they die younger than women and work longer hours.
Mr Raab also questioned the prevalence of discrimination in the UK by citing research which he said suggests that gay men and lesbians earn more than straight people.
He wrote: “Gay men earn more than straight men, lesbian women more than heterosexual women. Does that sound like a society riddled with discrimination?”
He is understood to have been referring to Office of National Statistics figures published last September.
The statistics did not provide the average earnings of gay, lesbian and bisexual people, although gays and lesbians were more likely to employed in managerial roles or have higher qualifications.
Just 1.5 per cent of the 450,000 survey respondents said they were gay, although gay lobby group Stonewall said the figures were likely to be an underestimation because many gay people may be unwilling to identify themselves as gay in a survey.
Mr Raab’s article also suggested that the “subtle sexism” against men would provoke “outrage” if directed at women or other minorities.
He wrote: “Then there is the more subtle sexism. Men caused the banking crisis. Men earn more because they are more assertive in pay negotiations.
“One FT commentator recently complained that: ‘High-flying women are programmed to go for high-flying men. Most men aren’t attracted to women who are more successful than they are.’
“Can you imagine the outrage if such trite generalisations were made about women, or other minorities? Feminists are now amongst the most obnoxious bigots.”
His comments provoked anger from female Labour MPs, with Kate Green, the former chair of the London Child Poverty Commission, saying they showed that the Tories were “out of touch”.
Former equality minister Harriet Harman said: “Women still earn 20 percent less than men, domestic violence claims the lives of women every week and women bear the brunt of poverty in the developing world.”