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Is something sexist just because it disproportionately affects women?

(11 Posts)
ReallyFuckingFedUp Sat 07-Jun-14 19:31:30

Is something sexist just because it disproportionately affects women?

Regarding the story below, my first thought was of the many single parents (mostly mothers) who would be hurt by the measures... if they are working and haven't also got a sahp at home it will be difficult for them to ensure their children actually show up.. they are frequently the only one contributing to the child's financial well being in the first place so taking money seems particularly vicious and logically it will affect more women than men. So is it sexist, or not because it wasn't intended to be?

Tougher penalties are to be brought in for parents who do not ensure their children "attend school ready to learn", Education Secretary Michael Gove has said.

The BBC understands the measures could include reducing parents' child benefit if their children play truant.

bbc article here

BillnTedsMostFeministAdventure Sat 07-Jun-14 19:50:23

Indirect discrimination, potentially.

I view it as part of the way women are oppressed within patriarchy.
I see it often and it's the way it's invisiblised that bugs me the most.
I think effect is more significant that stated intent.

kickassangel Sun 08-Jun-14 05:07:28

It affects more women than men.
It affects poorer people more than richer.

It also sounds utterly impossible to enforce without costing more than it could gather.

ReallyFuckingFedUp Sun 08-Jun-14 07:41:48

Yes to to all your answers. I was just kind of thinking that laws and policies that affect women disproportionately and especially any thing that affects poor women who happen to also be "single mothers" disproportionately seems to be seen as 'good for society'. Almost a punishment for not being a part of a what they would consider a proper family.

Things like the CSA who are notorious for not collecting the proper amount of money from dead beat parents (usually men) and they way it's all being changed to now to further punish women by making them pay for a service that doesn't work. When there are already very efficient models like the US one that they could be following.

If the UK can collect tax from people it could easily make sure people pay child support. Men who don't pay child support are never arrested for child neglect and don't have visitation rights taken away. But if a primary caregiver (usually a woman) did the same it would be neglect and she would lose her children.

JaneParker Sun 08-Jun-14 07:56:15

I don't think financial penalties are the way to go. There used to be truant officers out on the streets. I remember my mother (ex teacher) when we were children if she saw a child out of school she'd have a go at it and tell it to get back there. Perhaps we need more of that. By all means haul parents in for a telling off (including the father) but not financial consequences for the parent.

ChunkyPickle Sun 08-Jun-14 08:40:35

I think it's shocking that they freely admit their policies are in order to push more people into staying together rather than breaking up (ie. punish people who's partnerships fail for whatever reason). I know that if I'm at the point of breaking up with a partner, then forcing me to stay by making life financially impossible if I don't is inhumane, and no good for anyone in that family.

It's a bad policy as it also disproportionately penalizes those from the country rather than the town. I was a truant at secondary school - I'd get on the train in the morning, then just go to the park rather than school.

What were either of my parents supposed to do to stop that (even if they weren't at work/didn't have other children to look after/couldn't afford the train fare to come with me)?

AskBasil Sun 08-Jun-14 10:24:47

I don't know what parents are supposed to do if a 15 year old decides to truant.

I have to go to work. Am I really supposed to be late for work every morning in order to actually physically take my child to school? How does this fit in with the need to make him take responsibility for his own behaviour, sort his own school stuff out etc.?

And if he then leaves school without permission and truants, will the school be fined for not having ensured he doesn't truant?

What a load of bollocks it all is. It's a pretence that the issue is the child truanting, rather than the reason that child is truanting. Good schools aren't interested in fining parents, they're interested in solving the problem that's causing the truancy in the first place.

You're meant to be a Good Mother (oops sorry I mean parent) so that your child Always Behaves Respectfully and attends school because surely you can see that as a mother (I mean parent) it is your responsibility to ensure by magical forces that your child never misbehaves or refuses school because of bullying or mental health issues.

Dragonlette Sun 08-Jun-14 14:41:37

Dd1 truanted for a short time when she was in y7. Both dp and I work, I don't understand what we were supposed to do to even know she was truanting. She left for school at the same time as we left for work, walked round the block and used her key to get back in the house. She was caught out because dp came home early one day and found her. It was because she was being bullied. We phoned the school and they sorted it out, so she never truanted again (to my knowledge). Another school may not have sorted out the bullying so quickly or effectively, in which case she may well have truanted more often. We would both still be working, how could we have ensured that she didn't truant, other than one of us giving up work, which would cost more than the fine?

revolutionarytoad Sun 08-Jun-14 20:36:27

Think so, if it's facilitated by society with sexist ways of thinking, so there is a decision involved....which is pretty much the situation we have here. If it's caused by something.
If you want to say that women are subjugated as a gender group because men tend to be 'stronger' (horrible ambiguous way of referring to it), even if it means investing resources in 'correcting nature' to make sure women and men are on an equal footing (because it is not acceptable to have one half of the population disrespected by the rest), you have to make sure that you do something about it. You can't say- oh but we do have equality in this country, when most of the western world is set up so the few qualities men have (that on average women are less likely to have, or be encouraged to have) are the ones that make it easier for you to be successful. You can't then not pledge to change what you can if you also want to say that things are equal. Either you attempt to equip women and men to match each other so any competition is fair, or you change the way our lives are run by whatever economic system our worthy leaders currently find inspiring/profitable.

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