Two men deserve to be singled out for services to women this week.

They're Labour MPs Kieran McAnulty and Rino Tirikatene.

On Thursday, their fellow Labour MP Jo Luxton found herself in an humiliating situation. She was told just before a Select Committee that an Iranian delegation due to appear at it would not be shaking her hand. Because she's a woman. She was told not even to extend her hand to them.

So the lads - likely acting on gut instinct given the speed with which things unfolded - joined her in solidarity and also refused to shake the hands of the Iranian delegation.

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That, right there, is a minor diplomatic incident. It has the ability to cause offence. You know it is the case because media inquiries were immediately routed through to the Prime Minister's office.

Well boo hoo to the Iranians. They deserve it. And good on the Labour lads. Fist bump to both of them.

This is the most refreshingly feminist act from men that I've seen in ages. Forget social media declarations of support for pay equality and wider women's rights. Everyone does that. It's fashionable. It's just empty words most of the time.

The handshake incident? That's actually ballsy. It might yet land these guys in trouble.

With their gut-instinct reaction, these two men stood up for women in New Zealand. Their act told the Iranians that bigotry has no place here. It told them that our people reckon women are equal to men.

It also stood up for women in Iran. Hopefully that pack of misogynists go home and take a long hard look at themselves. Hopefully they feel ashamed. Hopefully it also reminds the women who have to put up with these men that they can expect better and thus demand better.

Two men deserve to be singled out for services to women this week. They're Labour MPs Kieran McAnulty and Rino Tirikatene. Photos / Supplied
Two men deserve to be singled out for services to women this week. They're Labour MPs Kieran McAnulty and Rino Tirikatene. Photos / Supplied

It's been pointed out to me that if the two male Labour MPs had the time to take advice first, they might not have acted with such courage. Perhaps diplomacy or left-wing tolerance would've changed their minds.

It's what seems to have happened to the Minister for Women, whose reaction betrayed her own gender. Julie Anne Genter described the incident as a "really tricky area" because, while she firmly believes in equal rights for women, she also wants to "respect people's cultural practices".

Really? She wants to respect a Muslim man's refusal to touch a woman.

That's a fail on the KPIs of the job of Minister for Women, don't you think?

Sometimes tolerance is a cop out. Sometimes it's just an excuse for not wanting to deal with the fall out of making someone angry. Sometimes it goes too far. There's no excuse for being tolerant of ISIS dropping homosexuals off buildings. Nor is there any excuse for historic tolerance of South African Apartheid. Nor is there any excuse for tolerating misogyny.

And this handshake nonsense is out and out misogyny. Some may tell you it's not. They'll say it's a sign of respect by the men, who instead place their hand over their hearts to greet a woman. Rubbish. The fact is that Islam has a major problem with the way it regards and treats women, right down to Saudi Arabia banning women from driving until very recently.

Equality is equality. No excuses. No tolerance of anything else.

What's more, tolerance cuts both ways. Those diplomats should've done their research and figured out that, in New Zealand, it's bloody rude if someone extends their hand and you don't take it.

It's beautiful serendipity that this all happened in the year New Zealand is celebrating 125 years of women being allowed to vote in New Zealand. The vote thing's ticked off. Next, we can start prioritising the expectations of our women over those of foreign, rude and intolerant men.