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MN mentioned in Guardian article about feminism

(61 Posts)
SunshineBossaNova Sat 31-Aug-13 01:14:31

"The website, with its four million users, nearly all of whom are women, is possibly the most mainstream and politically important example of this slow-burn resurgence in feminist thought."

Go Mumsnet! grin

jjohnsonvanessa Sat 14-Sep-13 09:44:34

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

BIWI Tue 03-Sep-13 16:42:20


LRDMaguliYaPomochTebeSRaboti Tue 03-Sep-13 16:39:45

That was you in the article BIWI? Gosh I am slow on the uptake.

K8Middleton Tue 03-Sep-13 16:36:32

I thought the comments about your age were a little unnecessary BIWI

BIWI Tue 03-Sep-13 16:10:16


They sent a photographer around as well after I was interviewed. Quite relieved that they didn't use any pictures, but a bit hmm that my age was published!

anaotchan Mon 02-Sep-13 18:52:58

That's good to hear K8.

K8Middleton Mon 02-Sep-13 18:45:08

My personal opinion is that it's best not to mention it so it just isn't an issue for anyone. But I have heard it suggested that it is fairest to the employer to say nothing but if an organisation's practices, ethics, culture and management behaviors are good it should be a non-issue.

Eg a good manager/HR professional doesn't panic and start recruiting people because they were the only black or Muslim candidate to avoid being sued any more than we would recruit a pregnant candidate because of her pregnancy.

Good, clear, fair recruitment practices to get the best possible candidate for the role are what the employer should be aiming for and evidencing. I like to think the vast majority of employers behave well the vast majority of the time.

anaotchan Mon 02-Sep-13 18:30:31

Oh wow. Thanks so much for the detailed reply, that's both fascinating and frightening.

I was once advised not to tell a potential employer I was pregnant during the interview, for a strange reason: because (it was argued) it would put the potential employer in an awkward legal position if they offered the job to someone else (ie I could potentially argue I had been discriminated against), and therefore I shouldn't tell them, for their sake.

But clearly that's not the case at all, and it was an overly optimistic view of the way things work in practice...

(Not that it mattered anyway - I did not tell them, but for my sake!)

Trills Mon 02-Sep-13 18:26:27

Never read the comments

K8Middleton Mon 02-Sep-13 18:13:32

And of course there are whole employers and managers who are brilliant but I would usually advocate caution until that contract is signed and sometimes afterwards

Size of employer is also not much of an indicator for good/bad behaviour of individuals.

K8Middleton Mon 02-Sep-13 18:01:39

I would like to say she wouldn't and she would actually have additional protection against pregnancy/maternity related discrimination because the employer is aware of the pregnancy but I've seen too much shitty behaviour to be confident that would be the case.

It is also never as simple as just making a tribunal claim because the amount paid out for damages due to discrimination is not much and is tired according to the bands determined by the Vento case which have only increased once (I think!) is last few years and something like withdrawing a job offer due to pregnancy is probably going to be in the middle band which was max £18k a year ago (I'm just going back to work so a bit rusty) and she'd be lucky to win without substantial proof never mind get much of a payout. Very few cases get a large payout. The process is time consuming, long and stressful.

Other factors are at play too. It might be that she works in a small industry or there are very few employers and taking action can blacklist people in some cases (it shouldn't unless the claimant is malicious) and it would be naïve to believe otherwise.

But mainly because some people are astonishingly ignorant of the law and make stupid decisions which are then fairly easy to cover up. Job withdrawn due to maternity discrimination? Oh no, it was because the referencing wasn't ok/the funding has been withdrawn/the budget has been reallocated/an internal candidate applied who has done the job before and scored more highly. Or my personal favourite "the job never existed in the first place. It was advertised and recruited in error".

The trouble with pregnancy/maternity discrimination is that you have to prove it is pregnancy/maternity discrimination not just general incompetency or a mistake or a valid business reason. Tricky.

anaotchan Mon 02-Sep-13 16:58:27

K8, just wondering: if (if!) a woman decided to tell their future employer that they are pregnant before the contracts are signed, would she really put herself at risk? I would have thought that withdrawing a job offer on such grounds would be a lawsuit waiting to happen, and therefore that the future employer would tread very carefully...

(also, I once turned down a job while pregnant, but for other reasons, so I never got to find out what their reactions would have been if I'd accepted and then announced "sorry, can't actually start for another year"...)

ShootMeNowPlease Mon 02-Sep-13 13:05:59

Sorry, didn't mean my post to come across as though I thought employers generally don't care about the law - what I meant to say is that his starting point is always 'what does the employer want?' And then he advises on that basis, and he doesn't care what the law says. I also advise an employer and we would never behave in the ways he advocates! I agree with K8 that there should be a massive disclaimer on that column.

Takver Mon 02-Sep-13 10:02:06

YY to K8 - I don't think most employers want to behave illegally either or even risk appearing to do so (well big ones anyway).

Takver Mon 02-Sep-13 10:01:04

Dear Jeremy ought to have been quietly retired to a golf club somewhere in Kent in about 1985. I've always wondered whether he was the editor's uncle or something (or had a file of embarassing photos tucked away?)

K8Middleton Sun 01-Sep-13 21:14:55

Well I work for the employer but I'm not stupid enough to come out with the tripe Jeremy does. A large part of my job is making sure there's no cause for trouble... and pregnancy discrimination is big trouble and best avoided.

I think that column needs to come with a huge disclaimer about seeking proper legal advice. The week before some poor woman returning from maternity leave was told some sexist and unlawful bollocks by Jeremy and the selected reader reponses both said she had grounds for constructive dismissal. She probably didn't sad

ShootMeNowPlease Sun 01-Sep-13 19:26:50

I think the Dear Jeremy column is entirely from the employer's point of view, without much regard for what's either moral or legal. I'm sure, in this week's deplorable example, if the correspondent's prospective employer has discriminatory tendencies, they'd be delighted to be told she's pregnant so they can withdraw the job offer.

BOF Sun 01-Sep-13 18:34:42

What's the problem with that?

LilyAmaryllis Sun 01-Sep-13 18:32:49

I agree, I read that Dear Jeremy column and wondered how he still had his job, his advice is often SO wrong!

kim147 Sun 01-Sep-13 17:16:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

anaotchan Sun 01-Sep-13 15:49:10

hah we've been reading the same articles!

I'm in two minds about that book. On the one hand I'm always wary of arguments insisting on the "natural" differences and roles between genders. On the other hand, I do feel strongly about breastfeeding etc, and I resent being told I'm holding back feminism for wanting to breastfeed or have skin-to-skin contact with my baby!!

I do love the Guardian too, but they're weird about women-related topics. They vary wildly between extremes. (Apart from Hadley Freeman, I always enjoy her fun feminist common sense!)

I agree K8.

It spills over outside MN too. I have forwarded friends links to WA and the Freedom Programme, instead of just listening to them moan about a dickhead partner. And I am only aware of the freedom programme because of MN.

At a school meeting there was some grumbling (by the staff) about the girls having low aspirations. So I suggest we look at doing some PSHE type work on raising their aspirations rather than complaining about the lack of attainment grin It's making me a troublemaker rather assertive.

Zoe900 Sun 01-Sep-13 15:07:36

I think we pick up on the difference between netmums and mumsnet but a lot of people reading the article if they weren't registered with either site would miss the fact that that quote (about liking lipstick and men) was a quote from another forum.

K8Middleton Sun 01-Sep-13 14:52:30

Oh that Dear Jeremy column is a pile o'shite. I say that as an HR professional and a sentient human being.

I think there are many feminist issues I have become aware of and helped form a view on since Mumsnet that are unrelated to motherhood (it's just my personal nadir occurred due to becoming a mother): The sexual assaults perpetrated against many women from groping and offensive comments through to rape. The offensive language against women and threats of violence online. Page 3. Lap dancing clubs. Domestic violence. Lads' mags. Financial abuse. Domestic slavery. Inequality in the home. Emotionally abusive relationships. Abortion rights past 24 weeks etc etc.

I would have got here eventually but seeing these issues and reading about them on Mumsnet has made me more active as a feminist. I don't use the feminism board that much these days because there's a definite feminist undercurrent to the whole of Mumsnet. As it should be.

We get the Guardian every day. I mostly love it. But it is often surprisingly anti-homebirth, anti-breastfeeding, anti- lots of parenting practices that I feel strongly about. I'm looking at you, Zoe Williams!.

I think it's the best paper but still poor in ways that surprise and disappoint me, I suppose.

this book review from Thursday also made me grrr. So dismissive in tone. I should stop looking, for today. I have run out of goodwill smile

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