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A Nod to Single FathersOur blog has been in uproar lately over the rights of single mothers. Single mothers live under a powerful, life-altering stigma, but that’s not to say single fathers have it much easier. It’s high time we championed the plight of the single fathers, and that’s what we intend to do.

Hidden in Plain Sight

At the grocery store or the park, if we see a father with his children we give a little knowing smile. In our minds, it’s a father’s day out; when the kids are tired, they will pile into the car and drive home, where the mother has warm food and love ready to greet them all with. However, this isn’t the case for the 2.3 million men in America raising children by themselves; these fathers might be single fathers by choice, due to an untimely death, or because of a divorce process.

In 2010, the Williams Institute of the University of California, Los Angeles found that 1 million men who had never been married were raising children on their own. These fathers face either nagging, unsolicited advice, or raised eyebrows and confused expressions because fatherhood is hardwired in our society to be in conjunction with motherhood. As if the only true parent in the duo is the mother.

The Single Father’s Plight

We lazily associate “parenthood” as simply “motherhood,” and it leaves a mark on America’s single fathers. Robert Anthony recently published a Huffington Post article about what it really means to be a working single father, and it doesn’t reflect well on society at all.

Anthony begins with the fact that men statistically and consistently are pandered to in the workplace; men are awarded higher salaries than women, even in the same position. But one group of men the workplace does not offer perks to is single fathers.

As a single, working father, Anthony experiences firsthand society’s particular brand of stigma fathers must deal with. Men stereotypically are expected to be the breadwinners of the family, but the price a man pays when he buys into that is limited time to actually be a family man. But for those men who are single parents, the stereotype has clearly transcended from stereotype to reality.

The Man VS Single Fathers

Anthony’s article brought up a very real, very discriminatory work policy that has greater implications than we thought. Through various examples, Anthony describes how mothers in the workplace are offered maternity leave, and are treated with more leniency when taking days off. These are wonderful considerations for companies to make for mothers, but it also begs the question “Aren’t fathers parents too?”

The stark reality is fathers are not given a fair shake in the workplace, even if they have mothers in the picture. Offices find it within their hearts to allow mothers time off to nurse sick children, the ability to work child-accommodating schedules, and to go on maternity leave, but they reject fathers the same rights to experience parenthood. We cry in outrage when mothers are not given time off to perform parental duties, but don’t think twice about not offer fathers the same opportunity. Again, we ask aren’t fathers parents too?

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