The wonderful news that Cancer Research UK has changed its rules to allow boys 11 and under take part in its Race for Life is a real victory for Claire Parker and a big thank you for her campaigning in making it happen (Derbyshire Times, Civil Society , Look North and previous coverage - Derbyshire Times).
There are a number of points to make.
The most significant issue is that John Taylor has been campaigning to allow men take part in the Race for Life for a decade. This was in response to his daughter who sadly died from cancer. Complaints to the organisation, complaint to Advertising Standards Authority and others such as the Fundraising Standards Board have gone unheeded. Even the sexist Equalities and Human Rights Commission ensured the Equality Act was modified allow it.
So nothing changes and then Claire launches her complaint and succeeds. Great. But what it does say is that Cancer Research and others were comfortable about dismissing the protests of a man but when it comes to a woman complaining about men (and boys) being banned they give in. What it shows is that not only that Cancer Research have been found to be guilty of sexism in terms of banning men (and still are sexist for banning men and boys aged over 11) they have also been found guilty of sexism because they ignored John Taylor's protests based solely on the fact that he is a man. If Claire Parker was Clive Parker, Cancer Research would not have crumbled.
Other points are of course is there is still the ban on men (and boys over 11) from taking part and Claire has already said she wants that overturned.
The advertising of course, which is everywhere and helped by Tesco's sponsorship, does not mention that men are banned. No mention on the home page of the website. If Cancer Research are comfortable that men are banned why not say it openly - why try and hide it - is it because they do not want to be so obvious about their sexism?
The comments made by Cancer Research UK about why they originally said to Claire that her son could not run was because women felt uncomfortable with young boys running with them is beyond laughable - it is like women do not have sons, brothers, husbands/boyfriends and fathers. Race organisers had told Claire that Connor couldn’t take part in the female-only event as some women felt “uncomfortable” when boys were allowed to join in the race last year. At the time, Claire blasted the “disgusting and discriminatory” move. The fact that Cancer Research UK felt OK to say women found it uncomfortable shows how easy it is to make such misandric lies up and think you can get away with it.
The last point is really that you would expect lots of media coverage on this considering it is a national event. Where is the coverage in the Guardian - or even on Mumsnet?
All in all, well done to Claire and also to John Taylor for a partial victory but we need complete victory because all we want is equality.
Posted by Skimmington