Dominic Raab has been criticised for “callous remarks” he made when he said a woman could be misogynistic towards a man.
The newly-appointed justice secretary and deputy prime minister said “insults and misogyny is absolutely wrong whether it’s a man against a woman or a woman against a man”.
Misogyny means hatred or prejudice specifically towards women or girls, not men.
It is defined as the “feeling of hating women, or the belief that men are much better than women” by the Cambridge Dictionary.
And the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as “hatred of, aversion to, or prejudice against women”.
When questioned about his comment to BBC Breakfast, Mr Raab doubled down and said the government did not want to make misogyny a hate crime as it would lead to “criminalising insults”.
Other parties have jumped on his apparent confusion, with Liberal Democrat equalities spokeswoman Wera Hobhouse saying his remarks were “callous”.
“It’s little wonder the Conservatives are failing to tackle misogyny when their justice secretary doesn’t even seem to know what it is,” she said.
“These comments are an insult to the millions of women and girls impacted by misogyny and show just how out of touch the Conservatives are on this issue.
“Women and girls deserve better than these callous remarks.”
Labour’s shadow justice secretary David Lammy said: “No wonder the Conservatives are hopeless at tackling violence against women and girls.”
The day before, Prime Minister Boris Johnson appeared to also reject the idea of creating a specific misogyny offence as part of an independent inquiry into the murder of Sarah Everard by serving police officer Wayne Couzens.
Mr Raab said the review will examine why “red flags”, such as a flashing incident Couzens was linked to in 2015, were not taken more seriously.
It will also look into “systemic issues, cultural issues” within the police.
The Home Office said a non-statutory inquiry will be established as there is a “need to provide assurance as swiftly as possible”, but this can be converted to a statutory inquiry, where witnesses must give evidence, if required.
Mr Raab told Sky News: “I think what people want is to get cracking on this as soon as possible and to get to the truth.
“This needs to be looked at robustly, vigorously, without fear or favour. I do also think that the police as a whole, the vast majority of officers, are appalled by this and want to get those answers too.
“We are not going to have a problem getting to the truth of this.”