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Apologist for discriminatory interview - in the Guardian of all places!

(55 Posts)
Blu Tue 05-May-15 19:41:07


In the Dear Jeremy column a woman asks how to deal with the fact that she was asked, by two men, at interview, how she would "cope with the work bearing in mind that she had 2 children."

Jeremy more or less tells her to calm down and says "At a cool, factual level, it is indisputably the case that when women are carrying the majority duties of bringing up young children they need to be more inventive than their male partners in programming their various work and home responsibilities."

At a cool factual level perhaps people should equally consider that a woman may be with a SAHD (or other Mum), employ a nanny, or juggle on an equal basis in every domestic and childcare issue with the child's father / her partner / whatever. And in that case, Jeremy, on a cool factual level, making an assumption that the woman in front of you is a woman who carries the majority of the duties and as he later says 'chooses' to do all the emergency runs to school when illness strikes, is quite simply prejudice.

On a cool factual level, unless you ask all candidates the same question , it is based in assumption and prejudice.

And using your column to openly support such prejudice just strengthens the complacent male club in which men in the workplace pressure female partners to pick up the childcare slack, and penalise other women for doing the same.

Disgraceful and shocking.

WhirlpoolGalaxyM51 Tue 05-May-15 19:52:16

Not to mention the fact that if you ask a question like that and the answer has any impact on the decision you make, that is against the law.

Not that you'd ever be able to prove it.

But still.

So yes agree with all your points + he is endorsing illegal sex discrimination.

WhirlpoolGalaxyM51 Tue 05-May-15 19:54:02

So if they didn't ask the men, and they asked the women, and then decided not to hire the woman because of an assumption she will not be able to manage things, that's illegal isn't it.

Most employers avoid asking any questions about family / pregnancy plans / childcare etc because of this I think.

WhirlpoolGalaxyM51 Tue 05-May-15 19:56:03

Interesting how when it's likely women who are being given a raw deal by men, it's all based on cool factual thinking isn't it.

As opposed to the hot-headed emotional nonsense you might get from other quarters, presumably.

WidowWadman Tue 05-May-15 19:57:54

Jeremy has always been a backwards knobhead in the context of sexual discrimination questions.

Blu Tue 05-May-15 20:03:28

I'm surprised The Guardian sanctioned such lazy endorsing of illegal practice.

He does end the column advising her to write a 'measured letter' - she did say she was 'angry' (who wouldn't be?) but she never sad she would be pushing shit and hate mail through their letterbox.

And it isn't just the question. Once a question like that has been asked it colours your whole interview. You are probably simultaneously choking down indignation whilst trying t gather your self confidence having just been told, in effect, that they view you as a woman and mother first and a workplace candidate second.

motherinferior Tue 05-May-15 20:09:06

Yep, Jeremy has form for this. I've seen similar responses from him before. I'm not surprised.

I can't remember what I've seen him say before, but it was also something along the lines of 'don't be surprised, dearie'.

justicewomen Tue 05-May-15 20:13:33

There are a couple of good blog responses to this:


elQuintoConyo Tue 05-May-15 20:15:34

What. A. Bellend.

YonicScrewdriver Tue 05-May-15 20:20:48

Nob of the year!

Blu Tue 05-May-15 20:45:58

Oh, good. I'm glad there have been other reactions - I was away for the weekend and didn't see any twitter response etc.

I agree MI - I have seen him make complacent soothing noises about all sorts of bad practices before, not just sex discrimination.

Do the Guardian realise how he is 'off message' and fucking with their brand? And giving shit responses?

Hassled Tue 05-May-15 20:47:30

I saw this and was going to start a thread myself - I was apoplectic by Jeremy's crap "just suck it up, dear" response. The tone of the response was so fucking patronising - and just wrong.

MissM Tue 05-May-15 20:57:59

So glad someone has posted about this. I was shock when I read it. I usually like Jeremy, but this week he gave the exact response I'd expect an old white man looking like his picture to give. Very depressing.

MissM Tue 05-May-15 20:59:31

I also thought it was against the law and then wondered if I'd got that wrong, that perhaps that was just in the public sector.

meandjulio Tue 05-May-15 21:02:34

It was notable that both his response and at least one of the other responses said 'ooh in your letter you sound a bit crazily angry, make sure you don't express that as you sound a bit over the top'

uh huh

glad I'm not the only one who found that pretty appalling

justicewomen Tue 05-May-15 21:03:42

Ive just realised I copied the link to the same blog twice. Sorry

The correct second link is

ChunkyPickle Tue 05-May-15 21:09:10

meandjulio - I was a bit surprised at that - I didn't think she sounded over the top or angry, and I don't see what would need calming down in a complaint to the CEO..

Am I just irretrievably millitant (browser doesn't think that's a word.. have I spelled it right or am I being censored!) feminist now?

Letter to the CEO, and consider it a good escape - the link justicewomen posted is correct - best not to be in a place that thinks that's an appropriate question.

MissM Tue 05-May-15 21:13:28

I didn't think she sounded angry too - was really surprised at those responses. I thought she sounded entirely reasonable, wondered if I was missing something.

meandjulio Tue 05-May-15 21:20:53

I have to say when I posted on here about my boss who used the N-word in a team meeting, at least one person thought I came across like a precious snowflake who was holding my nose at having to work with horrid people. They probably had a point blush so there's anger, and how it comes across, I suppose.

ChunkyPickle Tue 05-May-15 21:53:26

I wonder if it's the difference between directly offensive to you == justified anger, you're offended on someone else's behalf == precious snowflake (and your actual relation doesn't matter, just the assumed one)

Jeremy thinks she comes across as unreasonably angry because he doesn't feel or understand it as much as we do maybe?

Although as an agony Uncle, it's still inexcusable on a purely legal level - personal offence is neither here nor there

Blu Tue 05-May-15 22:38:54

And anyway, it is their behaviour that is the issue - not whether she is right or wrong to be 'angry' at it. Their behaviour is wrong whether she bursts into tears during the interview, or goes home and writes a 'measured' letter.

And it's all manner of bad behaviours to use the N word in a staff meeting no matter who is or is not present or personally implicated.

Victim blaming + women are not allowed to show anger + women are not allowed to make a point of principle or show solidarity. All these qualities are routinely ridiculed or patronised.

Bluestocking Tue 05-May-15 22:43:04

Jeremy is an absolute cocking cockend. I can't believe some of the stuff he comes out with. It's like Viz Top Tips.

Blu Tue 05-May-15 22:44:57


Blu Tue 05-May-15 22:48:05

Maybe we should start a regular thread: JezWatch - the Agonising Top Tips of a Cockend Agony Uncle.

IrenetheQuaint Tue 05-May-15 22:51:22

God yes I was properly appalled by this. Am really shocked that the Guardian's employment expert isn't acquainted with the Equality Act. Disgraceful.

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