Plans by Staffordshire University students to launch a “Men’s Rights Society” are being blocked – by its rival “Woman’s Network” group!
Student Vajra Dhatu made the suggestion for the new society when he posted his idea on the Student Union “better Staffs forum” page.
But now members of the Woman’s Network group at the university in Stoke-on-Trent have taken action against the proposal.
Fiona Wood (pictured, above), chair of the Woman’s Network, even created a controversial poster (pictured, right) asking students if a Men’s Rights Society is really needed to accelerate conversation from students.
She told StaffsLive: “If the Men’s Society is about ‘fathers for justice’ and issues treating men more fairly in court then that is fine.
“The statement written in the forum for the Men’s Rights Society was very male-centric and there was no mention of women.
“He was trying to raise the rights of men and lower the rights of females.
“It also talked about ‘the myth of the rape culture’, which is a very dangerous area to talk about.
“I strongly believe in equality and I will fight for it no matter the sexual orientation or race of the individual.
“I want to know what Vajra Dhatu’s end goal is and I am hoping to get that on Tuesday.”
But Men’s Rights Society creator Vajra Dhatu hit back.
He said: “Just as women face issues and challenges that arise in dependence upon their gender, so do men.
“While the Student Union provides a forum for female students as part of its Liberation Network there is no similar provision for male students.
“My vision is that the students who come along to the society will themselves initiate projects and campaigns that promote a positive image of men and masculinity.
“As far as the forum meeting goes, I hope to able to persuade my fellow students that advocating for the rights of one group of individuals does not mean that one is against the rights of another.”
Some students, both men and women, believe the creation of the new society should go ahead.
Staffordshire University law student Zoe-Katarina Ling, 21, said: “I personally feel there should be a Men’s Rights Society – or even better an Equal Rights Society.
“Every student deserves to feel their voice is being heard, and I currently feel the Women’s Network doesn’t do this.
“I have personally felt like I cannot attend Women’s Network meetings due to my views on certain situations, like my desire to be a housewife.
“Although the Women’s Network claims to fight for equality, men are not invited to every discussion, and if you disagree it can feel like you are looked down upon.”
Student Chris Warwick, 32, of Goldenhill, Stoke-on-Trent, said: “If women have a network or society, and so do the LGBT+ community, it is only fair a Men’s Right’s Society should be allowed.
“And yet the mere mention of the creation of one brings about discussion into whether it should be allowed!
“The Woman’s Network allegedly finds the creation of the society “dangerous”.
“Anyone supporting true equality between sexes wouldn’t find this dangerous at all, and so one has to come to the conclusion are they really supporting gender equality?”
A meeting by Staffordshire’s Student Union has been arranged for Tuesday (February 17) in a bid to defuse the tensions between the two societies.
Staffordshire University President Mel Ramsay told StaffsLive: “As a Student’s Union, we don’t have any stance, but we encourage students to talk.
“If the majority of students ask us to do something then we will try our best to do it if it is possible.
“We just want everyone to get their opinions across in a good healthy debate where everyone feels like they had their voice heard.”
A spokesperson for the National Union of Students said: “We do not know about any other Men’s Right’s Society, but Student Unions from other universities are not at liberty to discuss the societies they make with us.”
A Student’s Union meeting will then take place on Wednesday February 18 at 6pm in the Student’s Union ‘September Room’ to discuss the issue.