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This Mom Put Her Husband As The Main Point Of Contact At Her Kid's School, But They Continually Call Her Instead. Now People Are Sharing All The Awful Experiences They've Had Battling Gender Inequality As Parents.

"If he is sick and needs to come home early, they call me. If he has injured himself, they call me..."

A woman named Raina Brands recently shared her frustrations on Twitter because her daycare constantly calls her instead of her husband.

Our son has been in daycare since the beginning of the year. If he is sick and needs to come home early, they call me. If they want to give him paracetamol, they call me. If he has injured himself they call me. So what? 🧵1/4

Twitter: @RainaBrands

This is after she specifically asked them numerous times to call her husband.

I have repeatedly asked them to call my partner first. I have asked them to put a note on my file about that. I have asked the manager. Today they called and I asked them to always call my partner first and 2 hours later THEY CALLED ME AGAIN. What makes this more absurd is.. 2/4

Twitter: @RainaBrands

In fact, her husband has always been the one who has shown up at their kid’s daycare — not her.

...the fact that my partner has always been the main point of contact! He filled out all of the forms, he did all of the settling-in sessions, and he drops our son off every morning. But they are incapable of viewing him as a primary caregiver. (3/4)

Twitter: @RainaBrands

And it's just another bullet point on the long list of ways society STILL pushes gender stereotypes on parents.

When I say gender inequality is a self-reinforcing system, this is what I'm talking about. (4/4)

Twitter: @RainaBrands

Other parents started flooding the comments to share the awful experiences they've had with the exact same thing.

@RainaBrands We list my number as the primary contact for our daughter. The school calls, or daycare calls, or her pediatrics office calls. I answer, and they say “Oh, sorry. I thought this was her mother’s number.” And I Work At That Pediatrics Office.

Twitter: @alexjhrtmn

Even when their kids are TELLING the school to call their dad, they still call their mom.

@RainaBrands So it’s universal then! And I hate the guilt trips - they ring three times and when I finally ring back they say “your child has been in the office with a migraine for an HOUR, and we couldn’t get hold of you!” I hear kid in the background “I told u to call dad!” 🙄

Twitter: @docbayliss1

And it's beyond exhausting.

@RainaBrands I’m a stay home dad. Primary caregiver to the kids. My wife is a busy corporate executive and they still insist on calling her first. Often she can’t take the call, so they’ll try her again later rather than call me like they should. It is beyond frustrating and disrespectful.

Twitter: @logical_one57

They also started sharing other ways in which gender inequality presents itself today.

@RainaBrands Thanks for posting this. This has happened to us too. And the converse: My wife sets up all the bank and credit card accounts but when there’s a problem the bank insists I get on the line and give them permission to talk with her about the account.

Twitter: @JoelSmith272

And, not surprisingly, a lot of the situations include money.

@RainaBrands Had an appointement for a house to buy. Communication was through me, my partner joined spontanously. The owner just talked to him, waited in every room for him to be there, even though I asked the questions, made clear I'm the buyer. "She's the one with the money" didn't help.

Twitter: @KorffMarlene

Some people's tax experts can't even fathom listing women first in joint filings.

Twitter: @LaurasCraftyLif

It's in even the most ridiculous scenarios.

@RainaBrands I'm single, and always have been. Bought a piece of furniture which was delivered visibly damaged & they wouldn't allow me to reject it until my imaginary husband had inspected it. The world is sexist & I hate it

Twitter: @edge_of_the_map

Not to mention, men tend to immediately get what they want, while women often have to jump through hoops.

@RainaBrands When one of our sons needed a prescription renewal, I had my hubby call. If I called, I had to leave work and haul them in for an exam. If hubby called, they called in the script to the pharmacy. No questions asked.

Twitter: @57gxqznsmg

On the other hand, society continues to make it difficult for people to be dads.

@RainaBrands This has happened to my wife and to me so many time. I’d also like to kvetch about the number of times I had to change my son *on the bathroom floor* because only the woman’s bathroom had a changing table.

Twitter: @djhilton7

We are just so far behind when it comes to gender equality in everyday life and in parenting roles.

@RainaBrands I teach Gender in Labor Markets. For mor than a decade I’ve told my students true equality will come when they are equally as likely to call the father as mother when a kid pukes on the floor. Both my kids are Finally off to college. Good luck to you all!

Twitter: @cooper_338

BuzzFeed spoke to Brands, who has a PhD in management and is a professor at the UCL School of Management, where she directs an open-enrollment course on leading inclusively.

"I research gender inequality in organizations, as well as teach and consult on this topic. We focus a lot on the major inequalities women face in their careers — the gender pay gap, the gender leadership gap, overt sexism, etc. But every day, women experience smaller inequalities as well, and these smaller inequalities add up over time. My daycare example is one of them. One phone call isn’t a big deal. But if every phone call goes to me, it means I am regularly being pulled away from my work to answer a query, arrange alternative care, pick him up, etc. The cumulative effect is an additional mental load and a time cost, not to mention ... the potential to make me look unreliable and not seriously committed to my career. If they never call my partner, not only are we not sharing those costs, but it also means he gets sidelined as a parent," she said.

Brands wasn't surprised at all that a lot of women had similar (or far worse) experiences. "Gender roles are widely shared and surprisingly resilient. Even though we are seeing significant changes in how families share paid work and unpaid care, most people still assume women are the primary caregiver and act accordingly," she said.

"Gender inequality is self-reinforcing. What I mean by this is that women are expected to be the primary caregivers, so childcare workers (and teachers, doctors, etc.) treat them as the primary point of contact, which means that women end up doing more of the childcare than their partners, which reinforces the idea that women are the primary caregivers."

And Brands believes the fix to this issue is simple: Start from the assumption that both parents are equally involved and act accordingly.

I'm overwhelmed by the response to this thread, but I'm happy we've started a conversation! I'll say hi to all of my new followers next week. In the meantime, you can sign up for my free monthly newsletter on how women can de-bias their careers here:

Twitter: @RainaBrands

You can learn more about Brands' work helping women de-bias their careers, and sign up for her free newsletter, here — and you can follow her on Twitter here.