Miriam Gonzalez Durantez: “Nobody calls Nick a working dad”

Miriam Gonzalez Durantez spoke about the double standards around parenting and work at a Marie Claire event this week. People refer to mothers who work as working mums, but the other parent is never referred to as a “working dad”:

We also do a project called Inspiring Primaries where we put in front of the younger children a panel of men and women, and we ask them ‘what job do you think these people do?’ And if it’s a blonde woman the answer is always, ‘a secretary, a party organiser or a hairdresser.’

The sexism has been so drip drip that we don’t even always notice it.’

I find people say of me, ‘she wears the trousers’ and as you can see, it is true, I have very nice trousers. Or if my husband and I share the school run, it’s me who has forced him, dragged him away from his work. But when people, or in my case the media, are using that label on you, they are not saying you are strong, they are saying you should get back in your box. You should make the dinner and have his slippers ready with a gin and tonic.

You can read the whole report on Marie Claire’s blog here. 

While we’re on the subject of sexism, there was a really cringeworthy moment on Sunday Politics Scotland today when Ken Macintosh, candidate for the leadership of Scottish Labour, was asked why he was standing. His only answer was to say, in entirely patronising manner, that frontrunner Kezia Dugdale didn’t have enough experience. She’s in her mid 30s and has been politically active for the best part of 20 years. She’s worked in and around Holyrood for almost a decade. It’s unbelievable that we’re still hearing this nonsense in the second decade of the 21st century.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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7 Comments

  • Tony Dawson 14th Jun '15 - 6:14pm

    Miriam D has pinpointed a serious issue which pervades this Party as much as any other part of society. Much of the discrimination against women is based upon women’s disproportionate childcare responsibilities. men who do not have enough money to have ‘paid help’, who are involved heavily in childcare (ie a serious number of hours real commitment each week), are sometimes treated even worse than women in the same situation. And those who discriminate the most in these situations can sometimes be childless women.

  • peter tyzack 15th Jun '15 - 9:00am

    and as a working single Dad, with two children, the comments and looks take on a whole different level altogether.! It was always assumed I was on the lookout for a wife to look after them for me, or the ‘how do you manage?’ question that would never be asked of a woman in the same position, (though the neighbourhood’s kids were always at my house during school holidays) And now they are both grown-up I still get comments from visitors such as ‘aren’t you domesticated’..

  • peter tyzack 15th Jun '15 - 9:08am

    a good article in Marie Claire, albeit too brief. The TV advert that makes me cringe is the Very advert where a delivery man brings a box to the door and the women go all gooey and teenage girly at its contents.. part of the drip-drip effect.

  • @Peter Tyzack and those attitudes are structural when you consider the imbalance in the law regarding paternity leave and the presumption that children in separations will live with the mother. There are also prejudices against fathers who seek more time with their children from the workplace, much less latitude is given them than it is to mothers.

  • Agree, enjoyed Peter Tyzack’s point, a really good illustration as to how these narratives can be as demeaning and belittling to men as they are women. I’ve seen Dad’s treated like second-class parents time and time again, even ones that are clearly the primary carer for kids (and doing an amazing job!).

  • @peter tyzack
    “The TV advert that makes me cringe is the Very advert where a delivery man brings a box to the door and the women go all gooey and teenage girly at its contents.. part of the drip-drip effect.”

    One of the things that makes me cringe is when people use words like “girly” in a pejorative way while apparently believing themselves to be standing up against sexism. What’s wrong with being “teenage girly” exactly?

    I was interested in your comment about the Very advert so I tracked it down on Youtube. What I saw was Fearne Cotton and some other women looking excited, for sure, but they weren’t looking any more excited than I was a couple of weeks ago when a delivery man brought me the lovely new turntable I’d ordered. But you see, as a man I’m allowed to get all excited about my ancient analogue music technology and nobody is going to mock me for it; but a woman who wants to buy herself a nice pair of shoes or whatever is instantly labelled some sort of airhead.

    We hear this increasingly in the discourse about sexism, with women and girls being pilloried for the things they like to buy, the toys they like to play with, even the colours they like. The important thing to note is that men and boys can largely do what they like and don’t have to face such scrutiny. Those who are opposed to sexism ought to be attacking this kind of language in my view, but too often they actually lead the way in reinforcing it.

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