Gender Issues: The Punishment for Non-parents

by Elaine Schwartz    •    May 27, 2013    •    916 Views

By Lilli DeBode, guest blogger and senior at Kent Place School

Working parents undoubtably have a lot on their plates. Their work lives and their family lives often clash, causing them to have to play “the kid card” which allows them to leave work early so that they can be present for school plays, birthday parties, etc. Although it’s wonderful that many jobs are willing to be flexible for these working parents, one group is particularly harmed by this: the child-free. Does America have a bias towards parents?

Non-parents are the ones who have to pick up the slack when their co-workers leave work early with no real consequence. They are the ones who have to work weekends and holidays. But why are their social lives any less valuable than those of parents’? The child-free still have important relationships that need tending to. Should it really make a difference whether they need to leave for their four year-old or their elderly mother?

Life definitely isn’t easier for parents, but they do receive a lot of benefits that non-parents don’t get simply because they don’t have children. Many adults don’t have kids for a variety of reasons; some don’t want them and some can’t have them even if they do want them. No matter the reason, are they any less deserving of leniency when they need to get off work early for that dentist appointment or marathon they’ve been training for?

Maternity leave is much more prevalent and parents are gaining more paid time off, but these major victories for working parents create even bigger gaps between parents and non-parents. It isn’t fair to withhold time off from non-parents because they chose a different path.

Are we secretly punishing people without children? If so, is there even a viable solution to this disparity?

Sources and Resources: For more on the trial and tribulations of the working non-parent read this Slate article.  For testimonials by frustrated non-parents read this Telegraph article.

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