Is it wrong to go drinking after work?

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Is it wrong to go for drinks after work?

In a recent speech held at the Unison offices, in the early evening, Mr Corbyn claimed that ‘an after-work drinks culture benefits men who don't feel the need to be at home looking after their children and it discriminates against women who will want to, obviously, look after the children that they have got".

Hardly surprisingly, this has caused a great deal of debate. Bearing in mind that this statement was made in the context of Jeremy Corbyn laying out his 10 pledges to advance gender equality for women, it seems somewhat paradoxical that the tea-time speech was immediately followed with a ‘drinks party’ at Unison offices!

So where do you stand on this?

Hundreds if not thousands of press articles and social media comments have flooded the airways with some pretty vitriolic opinions both for and against his point of view. What do you think?

My view, for what it is worth, is that Corbyn actually makes a good point, but very badly. As the father of three children (now adults), I have done my stint of childcare at varying times of day and night, for whatever reason and I am not happy at his insinuation that only a mother would feel the instinct to care for their child. Surely it’s both archaic and insulting to the very men who are just as inclined to care for their offspring.

The point that I think he really wants to make, and was somewhat lost in his clumsy speech, is a good one. That is that cultures, of various kinds, can be, if not managed carefully, discriminatory in the workplace. One clear example is, as he pointed out, the after work drinking culture that tends to exist more in city large centres than rural districts due mainly to the abysmal transport systems that deter anybody from trying to get away in a hurry (well, that’s often my excuse!).

Other, perhaps less obvious cultures (but nonetheless can be deemed as ‘damaging’) include the smoking club. There seems to me, a lapsed smoker, to be little smoking clubs popping up all over the place. These, too, provide exclusive opportunities to ‘network’ and thereby gain professionally, at the cost of others.

Political correctness aside, it’s probably fair to say that any environment that is off-piste but cultivates unfair advantage (and therefore prejudice), should be avoided where possible.

What do you think?