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Am I right to get worked up over (what I think) is a very sexist incident from school?

(27 Posts)
Rollergirl1 Tue 05-Nov-13 12:21:49

Received an email from the school office today - Read to be a writer - Dads, Lads & Daughters workshops (the word daughters in red). The school are holding a workshop to explore the writing process. Starts at 6.30pm. I think that is great and i would really like my daughter to go as I think she is a very gifted reader and writer (school also thinks so). However it is aimed at the Dads and DD's dad doesn't get home till gone 7.30 most nights so she won't be able to attend with her Dad. I don't understand why this workshop has been specifically aimed at Dads, are women not gifted writers or something? I am absolutely furious and want to write a letter of complaint to the school but just wanted to garner opinions before I do so. This workshop has been put in place by the Headmaster of the school, who was new at the school last year. He writes and publishes his own books that are very specifically aimed at boys. I just can't believe that the school has actually sent this email out.

PiqueABoo Tue 05-Nov-13 12:36:23


Here Dads are generally thin on the ground re. school so I don't see a problem with some explicit encouragement.

Meanwhile both of us parents work full-time here, so one or other negotiates with work or takes a bit of holiday if there's something worthwhile happening at school at an inconvenient time.

Pooka Tue 05-Nov-13 12:38:55

The other thread in chat has had a fair number of responses.

IMO it is not sexist.

Periwinkle007 Tue 05-Nov-13 12:51:49

I don't think they have necessarily intended it to be sexist, I think they are trying to persuade fathers to get involved and in doing so they have perhaps worded it badly/appear to be discouraging mothers. I don't understand why they would put daughters in red.

I would just reply saying you wish to reserve a place for your daughter and yourself to attend. Perhaps just say that you were 'surprised this workshop is focused on fathers attending with children'

moldingsunbeams Tue 05-Nov-13 13:09:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Periwinkle007 Tue 05-Nov-13 13:40:52

that is fair enough to a point if there is extra funding available and I do think they are right to encourage fathers to be involved but no child should be ruled out because there is no father around, be it because of work, living away, bereavement or whatever. In those circumstances I believe a mother should be allowed to attend.

MiniMonty Tue 05-Nov-13 13:54:47

Just turn up - what are they going to do - chuck you out ???

If anyone causes a fuss just look 'em straight in the eye and ask "you wouldn't want her to miss out would you"?

FunnysInLaJardin Tue 05-Nov-13 13:56:41

Why don't you ask if that includes mothers before you get too upset?

Gileswithachainsaw Tue 05-Nov-13 13:59:41

Surely it's jut a bonding thing. Getting the dads involved in what is usually predominantly mums domain.

FunnysInLaJardin Tue 05-Nov-13 14:00:28

wow you must be furious to start two exact same threads

Clutterbugsmum Tue 05-Nov-13 14:10:04

It not sexist, It's about trying to get dad, male carers involved in the school and children learning.

Our school has once a term a dad's/male carer saturday morning fun time.

tiggytape Tue 05-Nov-13 14:49:56

I don't see it as sexist either.
Lots of schools organise extra events to try to get Dads / Step Dads / Grandfathers / male caregivers involved.
It is a novelty for most children to have this input within the school setting (look at the volunteer roster at most schools - not many dads go in to listen to reading for example and most primary school teachers are female).
It is beneficial to have role models of both genders so this makes this possible in a school environment.

keepsmiling12345 Tue 05-Nov-13 17:36:22

I don't think it is sexist either and agree that encouraging extra events to get dads etc involved is great. However, as a mum of a DD who has no dad in her life at all, i would discuss with the school how my DD could attend without feeling stigmatised.

Biscuitsneeded Tue 05-Nov-13 18:01:04

It will be so that boys can see their dads reading and writing. Typically boys are more likely to choose not to read or write much for pleasure, so involving Dads is a move to make it seem more acceptable to boys. They probably just included girls so they didn't feel left out. If your daughter is already an excellent reader and writer she may not be their target audience... I am the first one to challenge anything sexist but this is about getting boys to step outside those stereotypes and enjoy reading and writing with their Dads.

ivykaty44 Tue 05-Nov-13 18:05:35

The invite is for lads dads and daughter - so are sons excluded and mums?

I would be confused by the invite to be fair as to who it was for.

Why doesn't it just invite parents, care gives, grandparents and step parents and children?

tiggytape Tue 05-Nov-13 18:16:36

ivykate - because then they would just get mums and children turning up like at everything else. This is a specific initiative to get Dads (or male care givers and relations) involved since many don't have the opportunity to get involved at other times and it is good for the children to see their dads enjoying writing (or at the very least going along and joining in). It is aimed benefitting boys by seeing literacy as a pursuit men can enjoy.

Rightly or wrongly most primary schools are female dominated environments. The role models most boys see reading every day are women. The parents who volunteer most often to help with the reading are women. This has been shown to have a negative impact or association for boys - particularly ones for whom literacy is a struggle and who don't have the same immediate enjoyment of it as others.

Biscuitsneeded Tue 05-Nov-13 18:22:03

Exactly Tiggy tape. And Ivy, the sons are the 'lads'!! They probably wanted to call it 'lads and dads' but feared an outcry and included daughters too.

tiggytape Tue 05-Nov-13 18:23:14

It is something lots of educational bodies promote based on research into boys' literacy and how they compare (often badly) to girls.
There is a Literacy Trust project here that is along similar lines. It is seen as an important part of getting boys to read and love reading.

It isn't sexist, it is a fact, to point out that boys lag behind girls and this "literacy gender gap" is widening. boys report negative views of literacy that girls don't share and perform less well than girls overall. This is being addressed by many schools and experts and is the subject of many studies aiming to turn things around.

3bunnies Tue 05-Nov-13 18:32:14

Have you asked and explained that she can only go if you go (although I would consider seeing if her dad can go - it is just leaving early one night, I bet the women where he works sometimes leave early for kids stuff). I went to grandparents day despite my youthful appearance! Their grandparents are octogenarians and live a long way away with various health issues - the school were fine about it.

Retropear Wed 06-Nov-13 09:49:01

My dp works in IT and there are EU grants to fund only women taking extra coding courses to encourage more women into the profession.This is doing the same re tackling boy's literacy and seems a bloody fantastic idea,wish our school would do the same.He seems like a great head.

Boys have f all role models in primary and often think literacy/ reading is uncool.

What a great idea to deal with the issue.

LIZS Wed 06-Nov-13 09:53:21

I would imagine it is an attempt to engage men who traditionally get less involved with school and homework. Also to set an example that reading is cool for boys too. Could he not make an effort to be home in time on that particular evening.

noramum Wed 06-Nov-13 11:01:18

I think it is great and the school should be applauded to do this.

Our school has a drop-in IT club after school for dads/granddads and children. They realised not all dads are available each week after school so made it a drop-in session.

In primary it is vital that children have a male role model. My DD's class had a male trainee teacher in Summer term and the boys responded great to him, the class went into mourning when it came out that he will start at a different school.

My DH seems often to be the exemption that he reads with DD and does homework projects.

RaisinBoys Wed 06-Nov-13 11:18:52

It's an initiative aimed at Dads because often they (wrongly) believe that school is the mothers' domain.

Pick your arguments - this is not sexist. You are really over thinking this.

It sounds great! And if it gets more children reading and writing, then fantastic.

Perhaps, as you have had some notice of the workshop, your husband could arrange things to be home an hour earlier so that he can take part in this worthwhile event with his daughter.

Breadandcakes Wed 06-Nov-13 13:46:50

I think you are getting worked up at what is supposed to be a way to get fathers involved. See this as a positive thing not a negative

CalmaLlamaDown Wed 06-Nov-13 14:44:38

Our PTA advertised their last meeting as a 'great way to meet MUMS, drink coffee and eat cake!' It put my DH off joining (me too!)

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