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to call this is sex discrimination at our local Children's Centre?

(109 Posts)
learnasyougo Sat 30-Nov-13 16:25:24

Our local children's centre runs weekly 'Stay and Play' drop in sessions on a weekday morning. My husband (SAHD) often goes to these with our toddler son. It's mostly mums, but there is another father who goes occasionally, too.

Being a weekday morning I can never go (to spend time with DS and see him interact with other children), as I work full time.

Once a month, on a Saturday morning, the same centre runs a 'Dads' Stay and Play' drop-in, so working fathers can a) have the same sort of experience with their children and b) have somewhere to go to give SAHM a break, presumably. I know not all fathers have Saturdays free, but presumably a shift-working father would be able to make the weekly one from time to time, at least.

So my husband asked when the next one would be because his wife (me) would like to go.

"Oh no. It's men only" was the reply. He said his wife works full time, though "yes, a few people have complained about that" but it was left at that.

This is sex discrimination, right? I qualify in every other way, except for the Y chromosome. I can understand a men-only space if this were some sort of support group or talking therapy and having women about might inhibit men.

I'm really annoyed by it. I'm wondering whether they'd actually turn me away if I turned up. I would love to see him in a social environment, interacting with other children and playing with other sorts of toys we don't have at home, and give DH a break. I was annoyed enough at everything on a Saturday always being a 'dads' whatever, yet the regular, normal event is never described as a 'mums' event - a reverse of the 'men as default' so prevalent elsewhere in society.

So, should I just turn up anyway? Next one isn't until next month.

Grennie Mon 02-Dec-13 18:15:29

I have no problem at all with dads only sessions. It just saddens me that there are never mums only sessions. There are mums in target groups who won't go to a mixed session. But their needs tend to get ignored.

AmberLeaf Mon 02-Dec-13 18:17:22

But often the sessions other than the 'dads only' ones are dominated by Mums anyway.

They end up being Mums only.

KatAndKit Mon 02-Dec-13 18:27:02

miaow have you not had a word with the staff? They should have intervened with that behaviour.

flatpackhamster Mon 02-Dec-13 18:54:08


I have no problem at all with dads only sessions. It just saddens me that there are never mums only sessions. There are mums in target groups who won't go to a mixed session. But their needs tend to get ignored.

By default, almost every session of everything is 'mums only' - swimming, children's centre, coffee mornings at churches...

bryte Mon 02-Dec-13 21:17:56

OP If you can stomach it, how about taking your DS to a softplay area on a weekend morning. There are usually areas sectioned off for toddlers. Sometimes museums have events for families at weekends.

ILetHimKeep20Quid Tue 03-Dec-13 09:16:51

You would probably find the sessions quite structured and tailored to the situation of the dad's that attend.

PeriodFeatures Wed 04-Dec-13 20:29:38

miaow this is unacceptable at the CC. the workers should be managing the dynamics better.

Topaz25 Thu 05-Dec-13 11:36:54

I do think it seems a bit sexist because it assumes men can only attend on a Saturday because they are the ones working full time and women can attend during the week because they are the ones staying at home. The children's centre should be more up to date! Try writing to them about your concerns. It sounds like you are not the only working mum who would like to attend so maybe they can do a weekend meeting for mums too.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Thu 05-Dec-13 11:45:05

I actually think the idea of a Dads session is a good one and it would be undermined by opening to women too as, let's face it, more women than men would probably end up going. I do think you would be reasonable to ask them to consider having a weekend session that was also open to women however.

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