Harrogate Feminists

Men kill men; men kill women; women get killed

The Equalities and Human Rights Commission yesterday released its triennial review, entitled “How Fair is Britain?”

There’s a lot of interesting data in there, and over the next week or so, in this blog we’ll reproduce some bits of data relating to equality between women and men. But it’s also interesting to read the report as a whole. A picture emerges of a society made up of individuals who, on the whole, believe themselves to be tolerant, broad-minded and entirely fair at all times; but in which some groups of people nevertheless experience marked disadvantages in many aspects of life, simply due to the gender (or ethnicity) they happened to be born with.

The contrast between the view most people have of a pretty fair society, and the actual lived experiences of particular groups within it, is very marked. People who say that feminism is no longer relevant “because women and men are now equal” need to look at this report and think carefully whether this is really supported by the data we have.

As you’d expect, there is a lot of within-group variation, so of course there’s a big overlap between each of the different groups being compared; but taking the broad view, men and women are not yet equal, at least on the basis of many of the measures in the report.

The first theme tackled is entitled “Life”: what is an individual’s chance of dying from various causes?

A graph, reproduced here from the full report, shows that if you’re unlucky enough to get killed by another person, the person who’s most likely to have done it depends a lot on whether you are male or female. Men tend to get killed by strangers, friends or acquaintances; on the whole, that’s probably going to be other men. By contrast, women overwhelmingly tend to get killed by partners or ex-partners; on the whole, that’s probably going to be men, too. And in particular, those men with whom they once lived or had a relationship.

Behind the appearance of equal legal rights, tolerance and diversity within Britain today, there’s still a strong undercurrent of gender inequality that operates powerfully within the domestic sphere – behind closed doors.

“An Englishman’s home is his castle” may mean one thing to the Englishman, but another thing entirely to ‘er indoors.