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aibu to think this is discrimination?

(48 Posts)
PaleAndMysterious Mon 16-Sep-13 15:45:35

I'm a single mum and I work full time office hours. I was looking at toddler groups that run at the wweekend, my local sure start centre runs a Saturday toddler group however it is only open to dads. I rang the group to query this and was told that I couldn't bring my child to this group and they do not have a weekend group open to mums. AIBU to be really upset by this? Surely it's discrimination?
I am thinking about putting in a complaint - but I don't think it would get me anywhere. I just feel it is another example of single mothers being discriminated against and it makes me sad and angry

YouTheCat Mon 16-Sep-13 15:46:53

I think you should complain and explain that mothers work too. I always thought Surestart was there for support. Doesn't seem to be offering you any does it?

froken Mon 16-Sep-13 15:51:07

I think yabu. Do you think single dads should be able to take their dc to women only swimming sessions if it is tge only time they can go?

If it is a dads only group the dynamic will be dramatically changed with a mum there.

Does your local library do Saturday story time?

TigerSwallowTail Mon 16-Sep-13 15:52:06

I second youcats suggestion of complaining. My local book bugs sessions at the library offer a day on a Saturday for dads but mums are welcome too.

IneedAsockamnesty Mon 16-Sep-13 15:53:39


What's swimming got to do with anything?

PaleAndMysterious Mon 16-Sep-13 15:54:44

I understand the validity of a dad's group however why can they not offer a mum's group or a mixed group at the weekend? No my local library story time is during the week too.

TigerSwallowTail Mon 16-Sep-13 15:55:40

froken I always thought the woman's only sessions at the swimming were predominantly for women who have to keep their bodies covered around men for religious/cultural reasons, was I completely wrong?

EldritchCleavage Mon 16-Sep-13 15:56:18

It's very annoying, do complain. DH is SAHD and he found that he was always being told to come to Saturday dad sessions and rather unwelcome at the standard weekday ones. But Sat am he had a rest and I had the children, and there were no groups for us to go to.

BarbarianMum Mon 16-Sep-13 15:56:52

I think YABU. It is fine for them to run a dads only group at the weekend and for mums not to be welcome at it.

If you think there should also be a mums only group, or a open to all toddler group too, that's a different matter.

Dahlen Mon 16-Sep-13 15:57:46

I'd write also, but I wouldn't make it a complaint as such.

I think it's great they run a dad's group, and I have no problem with them wanting to keep that exclusive to dads. However, I'd say I was very disappointed that there was no recognition of the fact that most mothers work these days too, and a large number would be unable to make a week-day session.

MidniteScribbler Mon 16-Sep-13 15:58:00

however why can they not offer a mum's group or a mixed group at the weekend?

Probably because no one has offered to run one. If it's important to you, you could always volunteer.

squeakytoy Mon 16-Sep-13 15:58:03

it isnt discrimination.. maybe there is an actual demand by dads that they want to go to this

surely whoever looks after your toddler during the week could take him to the weekday ones

there are plenty of single dads who dont really have a lot of "dad and child" activity groups whereas mothers tend to have a lot more available things to do

and as most people are at home rather than at work at weekends, they want to spend time with their child to themselves, not at a group

PaleAndMysterious Mon 16-Sep-13 16:01:56

I would suggest that mothers tend to have a lot more things available to do during the week which working mothers can not access

Trapper Mon 16-Sep-13 16:06:25

Difficult one. Dividing down gender lines is difficult. There is definitely a case for having a session on the weekend exclusively for non-primary carers. I have always seen the 'mum/dad' labels as guidance only. I am a father and I have attended 'mums and tums' sessions during the week when I have been off work. I have also seen females at the 'dads club' on a Saturday morning. Taking this to the extreme of 'banning' people because of their gender is wrong in both cases. The swimming comparison is interesting and depends on the definition. Dads should not be allowed to attend female only swimming. Dads should be allowed to attend mother-and-child swimming sessions.

Jan49 Mon 16-Sep-13 16:47:49

Isn't the idea of a toddler group mainly for your dc to mix with other small dc? So if you're working FT and leaving your dc at a nursery or with a childminder, they get that social interaction anyway? I hated toddler groups and wouldn't go to one if I had a dc attending nursery.

I've always found that most parents of young dc aren't interested in doing anything at the weekend other than with their families so toddler groups wouldn't get enough people attending and any parents I met at a toddler group wouldn't be interested in meeting up if I wasn't available during the week.

MrsGarlic Mon 16-Sep-13 16:58:33

I don't think you are being unreasonable. We actually do have a few 'dad's' events on weekends near us. However they all say that other male carers are welcome and that mums can come too, although the focus will be on dads. Dads are always welcome at the mums' groups too (the ones run by the childrens' centres, not private ones), even the breastfeeding ones. I do think the weekend events should be open to 'non-primary carers' or people who work full-time and want to do these things on a weekend, rather than "mums" or "dads". I mean, what about same-sex couples? Fair enough for private groups to be single-sex but I think the ones run by the Sure Start centres should be inclusive.

simplepedant Mon 16-Sep-13 23:16:00

Legally, if they are just saying that this service is for male parents and not female parents, that would be direct (and unlawful) sex discrimination. If it is actually for a reason that just happens to favour dads more than mums (eg, for parents who work all week, or non-primary carers, that would be indirect discrimination, which is lawful if they can show that it is justified as a proportionate way to meet a legitimate aim; but they couldn't exclude mums who met those criteria - eg who worked all week. So you should get them to explain their reasons for admitting men only. You are not. BU.

McNewPants2013 Mon 16-Sep-13 23:22:07

All I can say is get used to it in the most polite way.

There are many things I would love to do in my DC schools, but they always land when I am working.

ILetHimKeep20Quid Mon 16-Sep-13 23:24:04

Simple, that's bull shit.

It's more than likely the group is funded specifically to offer support to dad's, a group that's hard to reach, figures will show that. All funders have funded specific dad projects for that reason. I've just out in a bid to get funding to start one at my work. You will probably find it won't be your average hands on all is well dad going to these groups, rather dad's in need of some support in being a dad. Chances are they haven't got a dad to base anything on themselves.

A lot of dad's attending a group targeted at them might only actually have their children at the weekend.

Speak to the centre by all means, but don't start spouting discrimination etc. Identify your need to them, offer to help set up a more generic group.

Funding for activities for 'normal' (non issue based) is bloody hard!

YoureBeingADick Mon 16-Sep-13 23:25:50

there obviously hasn't been the demand for a mothers or mixed weekend toddler group in your area. you could start one.

Jolleigh Mon 16-Sep-13 23:37:50

I think it's great that they're happy turning you away from the dad's group. It's a more relaxed environment for the dads...they don't have to be so intimidated as there won't be women watching like hawks (I'll admit I do this, I know many others who do's in our nature where children are involved).

It's unfortunate that they don't have a gender-irrelevant group that you can attend at weekends though. If I were you, I'd put the discrimination card to one side and write to them asking if they intend to start a group you can attend at weekends.

iamadoozermum Mon 16-Sep-13 23:41:38

Ilethim has probably hit the nail on the head. My local children's centre does exactly the same and it is because they get extra funding for reaching out to dads. My DH is a SAHD and goes to groups during the week but I don't get to go to groups as I'm at work and the only weekend group is dads only. It is once a month and I have suggested a mixed "working parents" group also once a month but they say they can't fund or support one. So DH can go to a weekend group as well as all the weekday ones but I can't, nor can many working mothers, sucks really. The dads also get bacon sandwiches but the weekday groups don't do food for the adults!

softlysoftly Mon 16-Sep-13 23:44:34

I think posters saying it's all about socialising children are wtong, I took my baby to baby group for me to be less isolated, I have a DH who works all weekend so did feel a bit gutted there was nothing for us to do on a weekend.

But saying that a dads only group isn't discrimination, just ask if there is any chance of a mixed group.

Also look into other options folr being with others such as dance class

BackforGood Mon 16-Sep-13 23:50:57

It's not discrimination against single mothers at all.
In what way is the fact that you aren't able to go because you are at work Mon-Fri, any different from a married / cohabiting mother being unable to go to any groups as they work all week ? confused

NK493efc93X1277dd3d6d4 Mon 16-Sep-13 23:54:16

Oh for god's sake! How many dad's do you think would go if women went too? It wold end up the same as all the other sessions as most men feel that they re really for women.

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