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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.

Backtobedlam Tue 26-Mar-13 09:51:43

The point is though that SAHM haven't been just say on there bums doing nothing, they have in effect, been working, its just that they've been working at looking after there own children rather than in paid employment. I'd imagine someone who left employment and set up their own business, or went travelling to gain life experience, would be looked on a lot more favourably than a SAHP. Trying to get back to work after being a SAHM seems from my experience, seems to be looked upon as the equivalent of dropping out of work, and sitting at home on your bum for x amount of years!

janey68 Tue 26-Mar-13 10:20:48

As someone who has responsibility for recruitment to my team, I can honestly say hand on heart that it's not just about getting someone with the right skills set but getting someone who will fit well into the existing team. I've appointed people from all sorts of backgrounds. Re: time out of the workplace, I think most people doing that these days would be doing something quite purposeful (be it caring, travelling, further study)- I have never come across anyone who has time out just to sit around or go to the gym, so it would be a case of seeing what skills etc they have developed during that time.

It's also worth remembering that recruitment is a costly business- it costs around £1000 to appoint someone to my team so the over riding criterion is 'who is the best person for this job'. Mistakes are costly to an employer. I don't care whether they are female, male, or whether they have just come from a similar post elsewhere, as long as i know they can do the job and do it well .

Goldenbear Tue 26-Mar-13 10:23:49

Janey, it is not about banging any drum in my mind, it is about choice- parents should have the choice to bring up their own child in the early years. Working culture and practices in Britain are not set up to facilitate this option. So if you want to bring up your own child/children full time then one person has to sacrifice their career, job status, in the early years. This role is not valued by men and woman alike and this is where the discrimination comes In- employers' tend not to see how any worthwhile skills/experience has been accrued within that time, it is seen as a 5 year extension of the weekend with all the leisurely pursuits that entails!

mirry2 Tue 26-Mar-13 10:35:56

I think that it's great that some parents can afford and choose to SAH but most don't have that choice. Parents who work can be discriminated in the workplace just as much, for example when training sessions take place in odd locations or out of core work hours ; when they want to take time off to attend to school events and can't or when 'getting on' means socialising in the evening.

janey68 Tue 26-Mar-13 10:41:01

Erm.. I'm sure you don't mean to offend, but WOHP do bring up their own children too you know smile

I think it's totally up to individual families to decide what they feel
Is best for them. This doesn't need to be a SAHP/ WOHP divide at all. As people often point out, it's about making different not better or worse decisions.

Out of interest, what practical and economically sound strategies would you implement to try to improve the situation? If a woman has time out of the workplace, what can be done to ensure she isn't discriminated against? And equally that any strategies don't discriminate against people who haven't taken time out? I also think time scales are a big factor here. A woman who wants to stay off work for say, the pre school years may easily be out of the workplace for 10 years if she has several children. Some mums feel they don't want to work until the youngest child is , say, 7. Or even in secondary school. So we're then talking a lot longer out of the workplace

I have no personal axe to grind: I took maternity leave and worked 3 days a week when mine were small, and then back up to full time when youngest was 4, and of course I have (along with dh) raised my children, who are now quite a bit older and very happy and well adjusted. I don't think I could easily have got back into my post if I'd given it up, because I work in a fairly fast changing field and I honestly don't see how I could have kept pace with people who had remained in the job. Though I agree you develop all sorts of skills as a parent (whether WOHP or SAHP) many of which are useful in the workplace .

whenitrainsitpours Tue 26-Mar-13 10:54:50

Aldwicktotally agree with you. With this Universal Credit coming it will push any sahm to have to shove their one year old into nursery to find a full time job. It's all very nice to want everyone to be working but our children still needs their mum or parent to raise them. They already are starting blooming school so young now a days at 3 in nursery. It use to be that children stayed home with their mum and played and started school at age 5. Our society is changing so much we are become so materialistic!

janey68 Tue 26-Mar-13 10:57:28

Oh dear.. 'shoved into nurseries'.... . And it looked as though this could have been an interesting debate... Ho hum.

ihategeorgeosborne Tue 26-Mar-13 11:02:30

Hear, hear Aldwick, great post.

LittleAbruzzenBear Tue 26-Mar-13 11:18:58

I agree with Ammi and Aldwick. As a SAHP myself I don't think there is anything wrong with what I do, or what WOHPs do, but I do get fed up of people's reaction to my telling them I'm a SAHP. They presume we are well off. Actually no, we got rid of my car and go without lots of things. I think there are more parents who would like to stay at home (male or female), but they can't afford to. It's all very well the government trying to push everyone out to work, but where are the jobs? The trouble is it's all or nothing at all, more flexible working and part-time jobs would be a start.

Shagmundfreud Tue 26-Mar-13 11:26:22

"With this Universal Credit coming it will push any sahm to have to shove their one year old into nursery to find a full time job"

Given that some nurseries will now have a ratio of 1 nursery nurse to 4 under ones, and that some of these nursery nurses will be 17 year olds with a level 2 qualification in Childcare earning £3.68 an hour......

janey68 Tue 26-Mar-13 12:05:22

I think that what's coming across is that parenting is undervalued.

Imagine a high achieving male- lets say a solicitor- at a a dinner party. He'll be given respect and approbation but it will be for his career, his status. He might be the most brilliant dad in the world, raising his children to be well adjusted and successful young people. But no one would show him respect for that. In fact I would say if the solicitor were a woman, she'd be more likely for it least to be acknowledged that she had children. The man could go home from a social function without people even asking him about his family. So I think rather than a specific SAHM issue (even the thread title mentions mums not dads) it's about the role
Of parenting not being given approbation, which of course it deserves when done to the best of the parents abilities

fromparistoberlin Tue 26-Mar-13 12:44:25

Yes for returning to work

NO NO NO NO for benefits, cannot people see it as a roundabout way to make childcare less costly? we have the highest childcare costs in the EU

the SAHM backlash lands as shortsigted, and entitled IMO. whinge whinge whinge

Permanentlyexhausted Tue 26-Mar-13 15:37:21

Goldenbear employers' tend not to see how any worthwhile skills/experience has been accrued within that time, it is seen as a 5 year extension of the weekend with all the leisurely pursuits that entails!

The onus is on the job applicant to show what skills they have and how they have developed them. If employers don't tend to see worthwhile skills/experience it is because it is not being demonstrated. Or because there will be some twee little comment about how "being a busy mum with small children means I have excellent time management skills", with no proper examples of how this might be the case. Remember that interviewers and selection panelists may well have children too, so wishy washy stuff about how managing to raise a family means you have gained a load of skills isn't going to impress if you can't give very specific examples.

When I am shortlisting anyone who has an unexplained gap in their work history on their CV, rather than stating they took time out when they started a family, will find their application lining my waste paper basket. I have neither the time nor the inclination to bother to find out what you've been up to.

Kazooblue Tue 26-Mar-13 16:07:41

Whinge,whine,whine errrr that goes both ways.

Sorry why should the state help out working mothers any more than sahm,why exactly are they more entitled?

Childcare isn't right for all families it just isn't.The needs of children should come first whether that be having a sahp or a wp and it would be nice if both could be helped instead of penalising sahp to fund rich wp.

Darkesteyes Tue 26-Mar-13 16:14:39

Kazoo dont you think youve bought into the women vs women propaganda there. We dont pit fathers against fathers!

Faxthatpam Tue 26-Mar-13 16:22:47

I think both Janey and Aldwick raise some very valid points. I have been both WOHM and SAHM and have for the last 5 years been a SAHM. During that time I have volunteered both at school and for children's charities and have gained some amazing experience from both. I totally agree that it is parenting that is undervalued, my DH is often asked about his work, rarely about being a father to 4 boys. At social occasions I am asked what I do and when I answer SAHM there are many who literally glaze over and start to look for other people to talk to. I don't give a hoot but it is a common reaction and quite depressing really. It is an undervalued role in society, and that view is being encouraged by the current government. I don't agree that SAHPs should get financial help with childcare (they don't need childcare if they are at home) but it was the government response when questioned that they wanted to help only those who 'worked hard to get on' that riled the SAHPs. The obvious insinuation was that if you chose to stay at home you are clearly workshy and a drain on the economy.

In my own case the decision to stay at home was not just mine, it was a joint one made with my DH. We both worked in an industry with very unpredictable hours - often away from home and with very little opportunity for part time work. One of us had to take a break from work if we didn't want to spend an inordinate amount of income on childcare. We both decided it would be me as this made sense financially at the time, and I was happy to take the break from a very full on career. It has enabled my DH to continue to work unpredictable hours and travel abroad at short notice. It was hard work for us both, we were very short of money for the first few years but as he has been able to progress in his career, are now happily slightly better off. My being at home with the children has enabled this career progression. We are very lucky to have had this choice, and I agree many families would be happy to have the same choice. I also think it's unfair that they are not given any incentive towards that choice, but plenty to go to work at a time when there are fewer jobs to chose from.

Backtobedlam Tue 26-Mar-13 16:23:37

Permanentlyexhausted...did you see my earlier post where a friend applied for several jobs stating she had been a SAHP for x number of years and got no interviews, but then removed this and left a gap and suddenly started getting interviews, when going for very similar job roles. I am pleased to hear that you would actually look more favourably on someone who explained what they'd been doing than just leaving a gap on their CV. The fact not every recruiter is doing this, is as clear evidence of discrimination as you can get really.

Kazooblue Tue 26-Mar-13 16:25:03

I wasn't the one saying whine,whine,whine.

The fact is childcare will not suit all families or children so families should be helped to have a sahp (if we still actually care about what is best for all children). Instead we're taking away money from hard working families who have spent years paying tax in order to fund wealthy families with 2 tax allowances,2 pensions and higher household income.

So very sad that raising your own children is looked down on in such a negative light and actually beginning to be stigmatised.

rainrainandmorerain Tue 26-Mar-13 16:26:17

I totally agree that Universal Credit and other changes the govt are making are based on the assumption that parents should get their very small children into fulltime childcare. And changing the ratios of carers to small children won't of course affect the wealthier families who can afford bespoke childcare - but most working parents can't afford that.

As an educated feminist parent, it makes my blood boil that we are being pushed down this route. Rather than looking at how hands on parenting and having work/a career need some radical, innovative thought, the debate is reduced to - "MEN have been able to have families and careers because someone else looks after their children. So that's what WOMEN must do too!'

No. Where are the dads? what tf are they doing? Where is the change in their lives? Why are women accepting and promoting the idea that if you want to work seriously, as a mother, your only choice is a full time childcare from an early age? WHERE ARE THE DADS?

I agree with your post Aldwick - raising small children in a 'real life' environment is so important, for their own emotional/practical/civic development. My mother (educated feminist woman, fwiw) made the observation the other day that she sees very small children having very long days in environments/doing activities that keep them out of public life. Taken from the family home in a car to nursery for an 8 am drop off - all day at nursery, which might have a lot of activities and even an outdoor space, but is still a very specific environment - picked up at 6pm in parental car, driven home, fed and put to bed. She was making the points that she feels a lot of small children aren't given the experience of being in an environment that isn't all about them - AND that the parents aren't skilled at managing their children in those environments when they do have care of them at the weekend/on holidays. She sees that as a change from when I was small (70s) - but doesn't blame women for working, is just disappointed that as a society, we seem to think that's how working/parenting works. I see where she's coming from.

Darkesteyes Tue 26-Mar-13 16:27:49

No. Where are the dads? what tf are they doing? Where is the change in their lives? Why are women accepting and promoting the idea that if you want to work seriously, as a mother, your only choice is a full time childcare from an early age? WHERE ARE THE DADS?

THIS THIS THIS.....A thousand times THIS.

BettyandDon Tue 26-Mar-13 16:33:08

I am a SAHM and I feel lucky, not discriminated against in any way. I would never have considered a nursery. I wanted to spend as much time as possible with my kids in the pre-school years.

I just feel sorry for any women who are doing not what they wanted or planned for whatever reason whether that's working or staying at home.

OrWellyAnn Tue 26-Mar-13 16:34:52

I think it's sad that fear of not being able to take the break from work to look after your kids has stopped so many of the people i know from taking the break they wanted to, to look after their kids. I know at least two women who have to work away from home 3 nights a week to keep up their careers so that they don't suffer so that they can afford to keep their homes. I'm sure that will be met by comments about them changing their homes/lives/expectations, but if we all did that where would businesses be without their (often highly educated and) competent female workforce?
The thing that seems most wrong about modern life is that the choice is there, but it means hge sacrifices in other areas. I am a SAHM, will never be employable in my old field without going back very full time (60hpw). We have had to give up having a home of our own, all holidays, pension etc. God knows how we will pay for all of this when I do return to work, currently I am self employed and getting a very few clients. it IS a choose I made, but it's sad that we can't take 5 or 6 years out without such negative consequences...

Kazooblue Tue 26-Mar-13 17:13:18

Dark loads of sahds round here.

The fact is many women want to be with their dc more.

My sister and dh both gave up a day a week.Plenty for him but dsis pined for her dc.

Women shouldn't be made to feel bad for wanting to be with their dc.

Kazooblue Tue 26-Mar-13 17:16:56

How ironic that I in contrast am a sahp and as a family they earn more,both have healthy careers ,pensions,tax allowances etc however it is our family losing CB.hmm

Goldenbear Tue 26-Mar-13 17:21:59

Permanently, I'm not looking for a job coach - thanks all the same! I know quite a bit about the recruitment and selection process as my previous employment was overseeing this activity. TBH your comments epitomise the prejudice that SAHP have to overcome. I have turned down a job share in the past where the Line Manager clearly had a seething resentment for my status of SAHM at the time and was very aggressive in her questioning about my relatable experience- an attitude similar to the one you have demonstrated above. I got the job due to the other panel members, this is what I was told by previous boss who got me the interview. I'm glad I turned it down because my friend who they employed on a PT basis said that I was spot on with my observations and she was very difficult to work for and inflexible.

I don't understand what is so difficult about understanding the concept that some people want to be the childcare for their children all of the time, especially in the baby/early years. Why are parents put in a position where this is not a choice. It is not a better choice, it is just a different choice. Neither should be discriminated against.

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