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New EHRC commissioner blamed women's movements for ‘victimhood narrative’ and ruining men's reputations

ONE of the government’s newly appointed equality commissioners has claimed that the “victimhood narrative” disempowered women, pay gaps were by “female choice” and has blamed the MeToo movement for ruining men’s reputations.

Jessica Butcher was appointed by Women and Equalities Minister Liz Truss last week as one of four new commissioners at the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). 

Ms Butcher has criticised many recent women’s rights campaigns, including those in which the EHRC plays a significant role, in a series of speeches, interviews and articles, the Observer reported today.

In 2018 Ms Butcher said that feminism had become “obsessed with female victimhood,” which “disempowers” women.

She added that: “Working-class girls have been deprived of jobs that they love, such as Page 3 girls [for The Sun] or [Formula One] grid girls, because other women disapprove of them.”

Ms Butcher also said that men have “had their careers and reputations ruined overnight by #MeToo – some possibly justly, but without any due process, no ‘innocence until proven guilt’.”

She criticised narratives around the gender pay gap, claiming that “disparities are hugely affected by a potential positive: female choice,” such as the choice to take care of children.

Last year Ms Butcher said that women who think they have been discriminated against in the workplace should show “resilience” rather than “crying to someone” about it.

Fawcett Society chief executive Sam Smethers said: “With these appointments, one can only conclude that the government is more interested in undermining the credibility of the EHRC rather than ensuring we have an independent and effective statutory body with a strong understanding of structural inequalities.”

TUC policy officer Sian Elliott said: “We know that women’s choices are constrained when it comes to work because of the unequal division of care between men and women, and that women have very little choice but to go into part-time work because of the lack of quality, flexible jobs and a lack of affordable, flexible childcare.

“It’s not a choice that women make. It is a necessity that many women have to go into part-time work because they need to be able to balance work and care.”

A spokesperson for the Cabinet Office’s equality hub said that the government was confident new commissioners will “help the EHRC carry out its important work of upholding and advancing equality and human rights.”

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