Sexist Cancer Research UK defeated & finally admits men to “Race for Life” events

In 2019 misandrist cancer charity Cancer Research UK quietly announced that it was dropping its 25 year ban preventing men from participating in its “Race for Life” fund-raising events. The media paid little attention to this development at the time, and what few reports that were published totally ignored the previous sexism of the charity, the harm it had caused and the enormous and quite brilliant campaigning that had forced its hand, a campaign that went back decades. Like so many pieces published by HEqual, this article aims to counter all the failings of the MSM and expose the true story of what occurred.

Race for life was founded by Cancer Research UK in 1994, as a women-only five kilometre run in order to raise funds for cancer research. Runners would wear pink t-shirts and while the emphasis half-heartedly changed over the years, it was clearly focused on women’s cancers, specifically breast cancer.

Of course there wouldn’t have been any real issue with such an event had their been a male equivalent, or had CRUK been an organisation tasked and with the sole stated objective to tackle female specific cancers but neither of these things was true. In fact CRUK was and still remains the biggest cancer charity in the country!

There were all kinds of consequences of the sexism of CRUK, particularly as they promoted their sexist event more each year. Their sexism didn’t simply apply to adults males, but even boys too. Therefore mothers with daughters could run the event, but those with sons either had to sit it out or have their sons excluded from joining in and have to find someone to take care of them during the events, A simply ridiculous state of affairs. Taylor stated “When my daughter died, my two younger daughters and other female members of the family ran in memory of my daughter and I was very, very upset when I couldn’t participate as a man. I think it’s so important, particularly for young children, boys grieving for their mothers – it’s a way of letting them express some of their emotions with their sisters.”

John Taylor in 2006

Of course there were far more serious societal consequences too. Race for Life, with its ban on men and pink branding, caused a situation where the UK’s biggest cancer charity was pushing the myth that cancer was mainly a women’s issue, when this is of course the exact opposite of reality, with significantly more men getting cancer than women. So instead of CRUK using money and event to spread awareness of cancer, it was instead promoting lies and myths instead. In fact, prior to CRUK relenting an admitting men, we even saw deaths from the biggest male -specific cancer overtake those of the biggest female specific cancer, thus making their sexism even more untenable.

It’s a little difficult to trace back the full story of the equality campaign against CRUK’s misandry, though thankfully at HEqual we were involved in it from 2010 onwards and thus know perhaps more about the issue than most.

The key player in the defeat of CRUK was a retired Postman from York by the name of John Taylor. He and the brilliant charity Parity had already defeated the labour government of the time multiple times in their attempts to discriminate against men, winning hundreds of millions of pounds in benefits that the government was attempting to avoid giving to men.

Taylor began his campaign against CRUK’s discrimination in 2001 after being denied permission to participate in the event following the sad death of his daughter from ovarian cancer. Taylor’s campaigning was simply as determined and tenacious as one can imagine. He’d constantly write letters to different personnel at CRUK, the media, the Equal Opportunities Commission, the Fundraising Standards Board, corporate sponsors of CRUK and of course he’d contact other like-minded campaigners and kindly copy a few of us in on his communications.

Dealing with an organisation as misandrist CRUK is thankless task for any equality campaigner at the best of times, but Taylor didn’t give up and eventually forced a number of concessions. His communications with the Equal Opportunities Commission led to the body contacting CRUK about their sex discrimination. Rather than be inclusive and open race for Life to all, CRUK still insisted on keeping its premier event as female-only, and instead opted for gender segregation, with a men only event introduced branded “Run for Moore”.

Media reporting at the time hinted at Run for Moore only being a half-hearted and ultra-reluctant attempt by CRUK to involve half the population in its work, noting for example that there were just six Run for Moore events in the country, compared to 230 women only Race for Life runs. It was therefore clear that such event were designed to fail right from the start, and thus to the surprise of absolutely no one, CRUK ended its Run for Moore events in 2010, thus again excluding men from its work. They were still determined to excluded men from getting involved in CRUK events, despite men being the largest group the organsiation was supposed to be catering for!

The extent of CRUK’s work to exclude men from their events was simply extraordinary. Taylor notes that after he cited the specific equality laws that CRUK was breaching, the organisation did not in fact look to comply with said equality laws, and instead lobbied the Labour government of the time to introduce legislation in order to legalise their sexism against men. Such lobbying was so successful that not only did Labour legalise such sexism, their new 2010 “Equality Act” specificly cited CRUK’s Race for Life as an sexist event which was now legal, stating:

“Race for Life, a women-only event which raises money for Cancer Research UK, is lawful.”

Taylor also notes that around the time this legislation was introduced, CRUK announced it would no longer even respond to his communications. Thankfully, such a move backfired on the organisation an inspired other activists such as ourselves to contact the organisation about its misandry instead, and to do so in quite a variety of ways. CRUK’s sexism initially intensified too, and quite incredibly they objectified men as sex objects in its promotions for what was already a massively sexist event.

At HEqual we ensured that every video on the CRUK Youtube channel featured prominent comments exposing the organisation’s sexism against men. A number of people, ourselves included, took to CRUK’s forums to expose the harm they were causing to male cancer patients, and specifically those suffering for male-specific cancers. We becameespecially unpopular with the supposedly neutral moderators of the forums who claimed to have no link to Race for Life itself, yet we soon exposed said moderators as the official models for that year’s Race for Life merchandise!

CRUK’s Race for Life website presented quite the opportunity for activism too, and it invited users to submit their own Race for Life photos which were then prominently displayed in a slideshow to everyone, completely unvetted. Thus for a day or two we successfully took over said photo stream with various photos protesting CRUK’s misandry instead, and thus their own website exposed their hatred of men for all to see.

Thankfully, Taylor refused to admit defeat and continued his campaign too, and he along with other campaigners achieved a further concession from sexist CRUK and they agreed to admit boys under the age of 12 to the events from 2012 onwards thanks to a petition forcing them to do so. The hostility towards even young boys from CRUK and it’s support for misandry until that point was simply astonishing, an article from the time states:

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.

In fact it’s notable that’s it’s a woman credited mainly with gaining boys entry to the event – sexist CRUK refused to listen to the same type of complaints from men, they’re literally so sexist they’ll only take action when a woman complains, even if the victims are male!

At HEqual we were so shocked by CRUK’s sexism that we went further and carried out a full equality audit of CRUK’s website, presenting ten examples of blatant sexism we found that we instructed the organisation to put right. In our communication with the CRUK chief executive, all our allegations and recommendations were 1005 rejected, yet a check just six months later showed they’d in fact secretly acted on the vast majority of discriminatory issues we’d exposed.

We’re not entirely sure what finally forced CRUK’s hand to admit men into its fund-raising events, but it’s clear that the overwhelming majority of the credit to get to the position where that was even on the table goes to the likes of John Taylor, not to mention all those men (and women) who helped and supported him. CRUK fought tooth and nail to exclude men and even men suffering from cancer from its fund-raising events, and it continues to massively neglect male cancers, particularly prostate cancer, to this day.

Sadly we lost touch with Mr Taylor a few years ago. He’d kindly send us a Christmas card every year but those ceased and we’re not entirely sure if he’s still around to have witnessed his victory. We can recall that even a decade ago Taylor was aware of the need to enjoy his much deserved retirement and wished to step down from his many years of activism. Whatever the case, it’s utterly disgraceful for the media to completely gloss over 25 years of sexism by the biggest cancer charity in the UK as if the controversy had never happened. Worse still, in failing to tell this story, as ever, the media fails to report and acknowledge the simply massive amount of work carried out by men’s equality activists. We’re led to believe that these positive changes just happen spontaneously, rather than resulting from some 20 years of campaigning. Just think how much the Guardian/BBC laud a feminist who runs a campaign for a few weeks, whereas here we’ve had a gentleman play a key role in multiple major victories, some of which took almost two decades to achieve and yet there’s not even a so much as a passing mention of his name when he finally wins, and in fact there’s no acknowledgement of even the battle itself!

Glossing over the reality of this story pushes the feminist lie that men’s activists simply don’t do anything, when in reality the very real work that takes place stops sexism, increases inclusion and in this case actually saves lives by reducing discrimination against male-specific cancers and male cancer patients. Our sincere thanks to John Taylor for all his hard work and many congratulations to him for finally winning another victory for equality and fairness.

If you enjoy reading HEqual and the work we do please consider making a donation so we can continue promoting equality and tackling discrimination.

3 thoughts on “Sexist Cancer Research UK defeated & finally admits men to “Race for Life” events

  1. Outstanding – thanks John, I’ll link now.

    Best wishes,

    Mike Buchanan

    T: 07967 026163

    Justice for Men & Boys (and the women who love them) Founder and leader, 2013-
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  2. Pingback: Sexist Cancer Research UK defeated & finally admits men to “Race for Life” events

  3. A remarkable and inspiring story. There seemed to be two lessons. One the determination of the man and men in the campaign. Two the importance of women raising their voices for equality, as again we see how quickly women are taken notice of .

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