A working father recently summarized his views for a media publication on what he termed the “hidden discrimination” that he says applies to many divorced fathers at the workplace. The following chronicles much of what he had to say.
Even as women have drastically closed the inequality gap in the workplace, men still have inherent advantages that make them more likely to be promoted and more likely to earn a higher salary. But there are some situations where, following a divorce, many men suffer a comparatively greater disadvantage of their own — especially if they’re divorced fathers.
Men who have children and are divorced often have to find a balance as both professionals and caretakers flying solo. Without another person to help pick up the slack, they have to pull double-duty when in custody of their kids — and regardless of whether that’s for just a few days or full-time.
Men don’t always get much support from the workplace, though, where they are often expected to make work their highest priority. Although many workplaces are understanding of the importance of raising children properly, some companies extend this understanding more to mothers — and not so much to fathers. In some cases, women are allowed to arrange special schedules to accommodate the needs of their children. But when men try to do the same, they aren’t greeted as warmly.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that women have it any easier, or that working moms enjoy special treatment. Rather, the issue is that fathers’ rights at the workplace are inconsistent and not always acknowledged. Men caring for their children after a divorce often have to grapple with employers who assume that there’s a woman who can take care of the kids — which, in its own way, is another stereotype harmful to women and their fight for equality at work.
For many working fathers trying to care for their children, a conversation about this discrimination is long overdue — and is important to correcting wrongs that may ultimately affect children more than anyone else.
Source: Huffington Post, “Workplace discrimination: The hidden discrimination divorced dads face at work,” Robert Anthony, Jan. 18, 2013