I WRITE in response to Brian Beacom’s column ("There's more to fighting for equal rights than black dresses", The Herald, January 11), which was rooted in a serious misunderstanding of the problem. It is not that all men are abusers. The problem is that many men, myself included, have through our silence and inaction enabled a culture which allows abuse to be perpetrated. The problem is that even more men have benefited by not being confronted with comparable barriers to professional success, and that when they do succeed, this progress is remunerated more.

Natalie Portman did not speak up to embarrass the nominees for Best Director or because they hadn’t earned their success, but to highlight that female directors are denied the same opportunities to exploit their talent and be nominated on their own merit.

It is wrong to chastise women like Meryl Streep and Oprah Winfrey for not doing more when powerful men were not only directly responsible for abuse, but as we now know, would actively take steps to destroy the careers of the women brave enough to confront them.

Because of the remarkable courage shown by women in recent months, men are listening, learning and changing. This is not an act of self-emasculation as Mr Beacom believes, it is an exemplification of what it should mean to be a man.

Kenneth Fleming,

Buccleuch Street, Glasgow.