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Are SAHMS discriminated against. Red magazine are doing an article about it.

(1000 Posts)
Darkesteyes Mon 25-Mar-13 16:58:46

Just seen this on twitter.

Are stay at home mums discriminated against? Are you one and unhappy with benefits, or feel judged? Tell us.

Darkesteyes Mon 25-Mar-13 17:33:53


lurkerspeaks Mon 25-Mar-13 18:35:05

Anecdotally they are discriminated against when they try to get back into the workplace.

I have several friends with excellent careers pre-children who are really struggling to get anything resembling a graduate job (let alone one with a top city employer) after time out to raise their kids.

Time out of the workforce prior to attempted re-entry ranges from 3-6 years.

Snuppeline Mon 25-Mar-13 18:42:15

In short - no. I don't thin SAHM are any more discriminated against trying to re-enter the workplace than someone who has been unemployed. It's the gap in the CV which makes it hard. Some women are out for quite a long time and their knowledge may not be up to date. Keeping the CV updated with some work and/or volunteering should help.

As for benefits I think SAH should be a family decision based on affordability. It's a lifestyle choice and should not be funded by benefits. Lack of benefits for SAHM is therefore not discrimination to me. Regardless of whether working parents get them or not. For the record,I don't think salaries should be supported by benefits - I believe in a living wage.

thebody Mon 25-Mar-13 18:44:20

Snupperline absolutely.

Aldwick Mon 25-Mar-13 19:04:28

What I don't understand is why we live in such an anti SAHM society not least when there aren't enough jobs out there at the moment for anyone.

I am prepared to be flamed but personally I do think it's important for children to have a parent at home especially for babies who need a secure attachment figure but even for older children.
Both my parents worked and I was so jealous of my friends whose mums picked them up every day, were able to come into school to read, attend assemblies etc. and who weren't sent into school feeling really ill some days because both parents had meetings they couldn't miss.

Even teenagers need someone to at least have a vague idea of where they are after school, someone to make sure they eat something decent , see enough of them to pick up on the warning signs that all isn't well.

I'm also very aware of how stressed a lot of my friends who work full time and have small children are. It is not family friendly for parents to be cramming in all the chores/ house admin etc. after work and at the weekends but it is getting harder and harder to be a SAHM.

I know my opinion isn't popular and I do understand a lot of people have no choice but to continue to work full time in this current economic climate but seriously, sometimes, why have children if you are barely going to see them and why doesn't the government recognise the value of having a few parents at home who can help out with various community things?

I genuinely worry that we're in danger of raising a generation who are institutionalised going first to nursery then to school with breakfast club and after school club with no continuity of care and few chances just to kick back and relax at home.

janey68 Mon 25-Mar-13 19:13:05

What snupperline(great name btw) says

HappyMummyOfOne Mon 25-Mar-13 19:19:12

How are they being discriminated against? If they are finding it tough to gain jobs after years of not working then thats down to a choice they made. They can do voluntary work etc to gain upto date experience.

As for benefits, welfare should be there for those truly unable to work as they are disabled and incapable of working or for short term help after losing a job. It should not be in place because somebody fancies not working for a few years.

Millions of parents work. If the family income can afford to have a non working adult then thats a choice they make knowing the risks.

LUCKYLOSER Mon 25-Mar-13 19:19:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

whatithink Mon 25-Mar-13 19:20:16

I personally feel that is is better for children to have a stay at home parent, whether it is mum or dad, but I know that is my personal choice and I don't have any problems with families where both parents choose to work.

I do however think that many more women would actually like to be stay at home mums, even if just for the pre school years, but they can't afford it. I think it the government had offered transferable tax breaks for instance then with this extra "money" more people may be able to afford for one parent to stay at home. Or if they have Grandparents for instance caring for their children they could pay them from this money whereas with the proposed schemes they cannot claim that back as it is not registered childcare.

Whatever, I think it should be a level playing field, and the Government should not help one set of parents and not another. I agree that people on low incomes and single parents need help with childcare, but the proposed system where couples on a very high joint income will be helped but not families on one much lower income is wrong.

INeedThatForkOff Mon 25-Mar-13 19:30:07

I certainly wouldn't want to see positive discrimination in favour of SAHMs, to the detriment of those who've plugged away at their careers.

Those who are trumpeting being a SAHM as a choice arr off the mark IMO by the way. If I did it we couldn't afford to live on DH's wage (not NMW, by any means).

INeedThatForkOff Mon 25-Mar-13 19:30:42

should read 'are way off the mark'.

CloudsAndTrees Mon 25-Mar-13 19:40:06

No, SAHMs are not discriminated against. Especially not when it comes to benefits. Child tax credits actively encourage and support SAHMs if anything.

I'm not sure about discrimination when it comes to getting a job after years if SAH. A SAHP that has done lots of Voluntary work with toddler groups, PTAs and such like can demonstrate all sorts of skills, but it's understandable that employers will choose someone with recent work experience over someone that has done no work at all outside of the home. Especially when they have so many candidates to choose from. That's not discrimination, it makes sense.

rainrainandmorerain Mon 25-Mar-13 21:00:02

Well, it's a non question as it stands, from Red magazine. Discriminated against by whom? in what way?

The only angle I'm really interested in is why, yet again, parenting and career issues are being discussed as if dads don't exist. As if women make all these decisions in a bloody vacuum.

When you look at how women's career paths and earnings take a hit when they have chidren, whether you are talking about taking maternity leave, dropping out of the workforce altogether for a long time, or changing work patterns to find part time work - it's clear that mums are paying some sort of price that dads aren't, SAHM or WOHM or all the positions in between. Can someone in the mainstream media please ask the question, why is this only happening to women?

I'm not in favour of full time childcare for babies and small children, and I think Aldwick makes some very good points about the institutionalisation of children who have 2 parents working flat out (also quite gender neutral in discussing parental role, which is nice!). But things won't change until dads change. The burden of all compromise and flexibility will fall to the mother.

A sexist society discriminates against all mums. And yet another discussion/feature which airbrushes dads out of the picture just contributes towards it all. It's not SAHMs that are a problem - it is PARENTING.

Permanentlyexhausted Mon 25-Mar-13 22:20:25

Lurkerspeaks Graduate level jobs are hard to come by, full-stop. Your friends are not being discriminated against because they have been SAHMs but because they don't have recent experience. It is the lack of recent work experience that is the issue, not what they were doing during that time. A childless graduate who had been out of the workplace for 3-6 years for whatever reason would have just as much difficulty. Blaming it on what they have been doing whilst away from the workplace just breeds resentment and encourages SAHPs to think they are discriminated against.

Aldwick having a few parents at home who can help out with various community things Sounds great but the reality is that volunteering for community things is not the preserve of the SAHP. I can imagine the muttering reactions of the SAH Brownie parents if I told them (when I tell them) that I can't be arsed to run the unit and hold down a fulltime job anymore if they can't be arsed to help out occasionally.

Valpollicella Mon 25-Mar-13 22:25:17

OP, you have to pay for media requests smile

Suggest you contact MNHQ and pay the subs and get this moved to the appropriate section

Valpollicella Mon 25-Mar-13 22:26:01

Ooops, sorry OP! Just seen you aren;t the originator! Apologies

Backtobedlam Mon 25-Mar-13 22:37:33

SAHM's are definately discriminated against when moving back into the work place. I know people who took SAHM off their CV and just left a gap instead, suddenly they were getting interviews, that's not a coincidence. In some jobs having a career break like could cause problems if knowledge needs to be kept up to date (such as medical profession) but in a lot of jobs a short training course that all new employees go through would be easily sufficient. It's a shame that a lot of people in society no longer see the value of bringing up your own children. Yes it's a choice, but why should being at home with your own children for 5yrs mean that your career should be over? I don't think it is the same as just stopping working for 5yrs to do nothing, being a SAHP can actually enhance lots of skills needed for the workplace, if only employers (and sadly a lot of WOHP's) would take their blinkers off.

Goldenbear Mon 25-Mar-13 23:19:10

I know anecdotally for sure SAHMs that have been discriminated against, where the jobs being applied for were senior posts and in large corporations/organisations. The idea that they are not discriminated against is farcical. The problem is exacerbated by the dismissive attitudes people have of the role- I.e that it is of little value to society because it has no monetary value.

Goldenbear Mon 25-Mar-13 23:36:32

Oh and I agree with Rainrainandmorerain. Antiquated working practices still exist in this country that don't allow parental responsibilities to be split equally. Why should someone be penalised for wanting to care for their own child, full time, in the early years. This inevitably happens because the full time child care is not split equally- organisations don't accommodate this as well as they should and the attitudes of society reinforce that behaviour- there is not enough demand for that change.

Darkesteyes Mon 25-Mar-13 23:49:58

Im the OP i started this thread because i knew there would be some good posts about the sexism involved here.
rainrain i totally agree.

Im childless but i remember being asked about whether i planned to have children at an interview 9 years ago.
When i said no he then said "Why not? Dont you want the responsibility.
So you cant win confused
And late in the 90s during a period when we were both signing on i was asked to sign a piece of paper saying that i would consider part time work. DH was asked to sign no such thing.
So when i was younger the attitude to working women seemed to be "Know your place" looks like not much has changed.

MsAkimbo Tue 26-Mar-13 01:03:41

Hmm. Depends.

I am a SAHM. Some people think it's because we shit gold and I am just a lady of leisure.

Others pity me and think I am because we can't afford childcare and have no family to help out.

I think ultimately, any time you tell people your choice, people will make assumptions.

Short answer? Yes.

Aldwick Tue 26-Mar-13 09:10:27

I have been thinking about this some more and ultimately it's not that they are discriminated against just not valued. It seems that bringing up your own children has become the exception as opposed to the norm which just seems bizarre to me.

I think I also feel very strongly that we are being sold the notion that children are 'better off' in childcare but having once worked in a field that had me in and out of nurseries (granted this was in London) I can honestly say that for every lovely warm welcoming nursery there would be ten where I wouldn't leave my hamster. Places where only the kids that screamed the loudest got any attention, where what was on the advertised menu bore no resemblance to what was actually served and where bored teens stood around discussing their weekends and texting their boyfriends rather than interacting with the children. How could I possibly trust these people (many of whom put on a great show of being warm and caring at pick up time) to nurture my child and instil in them the attitudes and values that matter to me.

I know there are some wonderful child carers out there but I also know what I saw and what strengthened my resolve not to have children until I could stay at home with them at least while they were tiny and unable to voice an opinion or tell me what was going on.

I also think it's really important for children to have a sense of 'real life'. Good childcare tends to be that which is totally child focused whereas I want my children to grow up seeing normal things like 'doing the laundry' and having to either amuse themselves or get involved with chores so that they learn how to do them.

I also think that any environment with lots of small children in can be quite a stressful sensory overload especially for a small person and I am furious about the plans to lower ratios as that will make things even more manic.

I don't expect any financial assistance to stay home (although I think removing child benefit in the way they have done is shocking - I would have preferred to see it capped at two children just so that women in difficult relationships still had some money in their name only) but I do object strongly to my choice being so devalued by society and the government appearing to decide for me that my children are better off in childcare.

The double standards of removing child benefit on the strength of my husband's wage but not allowing him to have my tax allowance is also just wrong.

We are not wealthy by any means. We lose out child benefit by mere pennies and live in London where housing costs are high but I still firmly believe we have made the right decision for our family and wish that other women at least had the 'choice'.

janey68 Tue 26-Mar-13 09:31:27

I disagree that people are 'sold the notion' childcare
Is 'better' for children. Rather, the reality is that there is no conclusive reliable evidence either way- to say that having a
SAHP or WOHP is 'better'. Hardly surprising really, as there are so many variable and so many possible measurements of outcome anyway- academic achievement, confidence etc

I think there is a genuine debate to be had here- whether SAHM are genuinely discriminated against or whether they are just in the same position as anyone else who has been out of the workplace for some years. It would be a shame if it's derailed by people just wanting to bang the drum that being at home is 'better' and therefore 'should' be what people do.

Of course everyone will have anecdotes about the dreadful nursery they worked in, just as we could all cite examples of rubbish SAHP. You cannot extrapolate from that, that childcare is bad. I am also very hmm when someone says 'of course the nursery workers all sprung into action and looked warm and friendly whenever a parent dropped by but were cold and uninterested the rest of the time'... It just comes across as a quite unpleasant way of trying to undermine WOHM by darkly hinting that their children are stressed and unhappy. agree with the principles of child led learning, and certainly the cm and the nursery my children attended operated like this- it was very 'real life'. Anyway, childcare has been around long enough now that if there were significant differences when children reach adulthood, then I'm sure we'd be able to spot all those poor adults who are emotionally damaged and don't have happy lives or successful careers- all because their mum worked!!!

So it would be good if this thread doesn't go down the route of trying to undermine WOHM.

One thing that would be interesting to know is whether there is any actual evidence that SAHM do less well at getting back into the workplace than others who have had a similar amount of time out for other reasons? I can see that someone who hasn't worked for several years is going to lack recent experience if they are competing for a post against someone already working in that field. But I suspect that would be true of anyone who has been out of the workplace. Be good to hear if anyone knows of any research on this

AmmiMajus Tue 26-Mar-13 09:50:32

Having been one for a good while (8 years or so) I think yes.
People just stop seeing you as a useful person. They stop asking about your day. I run a business from home - it's small scale but I contribute to the economy. Does anyone give a shit? No. Including family and friends.

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