How one mum decided to respond to her daughter’s sexist homework

It shamed working mums, so she fought back

Words by Jadie Troy-Pryde

Over the last few months, we’ve seen A-list actresses like Brie Larson and Elisabeth Moss using their voices to lift the lid on sexism in the fashion industry, and revealing the shocking criticism of their work for being ‘too female’.

But what about the smallest girls in our society? Who are they listening to and where are they forming their ideas about gender equality? Considering that they spend the majority of their time in the classroom, the work they’re doing will have a huge impact on various things from their self-awareness to knowledge of how society works – which is why when one mother noticed that her daughter had been set a jarring homework task she decided to take matters into her own hands.

Lynne Polvino from New York shared a picture of said homework on Facebook and it snowballed as a result of many people’s collective outrage. The work sheet required her daughter to fill in the blanks, and told the story of a child who had a terrible day –  essentially because her mum decided to go back to work.

Lynne Polvino

Lynne Polvino added a new photo.

It has been accused of shaming mothers who choose to go back to work after having children, or for not being there when the kids get home from school. It starts: ‘Lisa was not happy. Her mother was back at work, before going to to say that the morning was ‘terrible’ because ‘Lisa had to get to school on time. Her father had to get to work on time. And now, her mother was in a rush too.’

Those darn inconsiderate working mums, hey.

The worksheet continued to explain that Lisa’s father made breakfast and asked her to wash up, but that the worst part was: ‘Lisa did not like her day at school On the way home, she thought about it. “I wonder what time Mommy will come home. I will be lonely at home.” But when Lisa arrived home, there was her mother.’

Upon learning that her mum leaves the office early to see her and isn’t actually a complete monster for abandoning her, Lisa ‘feels fine now.’

The post has been liked and shared thousands of times, but Lynne went one step further and wrote her own version of her daughter’s homework that she felt was far more appropriate.

Lynne Polvino

Lynne Polvino added a new photo.

Lynne told Today.com: ‘It just pushed so many buttons for me, and with each sentence it managed to get worse!

‘My shock and dismay quickly turned to outrage. I mean, what decade are we in, anyway? In this day and age, we’re going to tell kids that mothers working outside the home makes their children and families unhappy? That fathers don’t normally do things like cook and wash the dishes?

‘What message was it sending to little girls who dream of having careers and families?’

In her updated version, Lynne wrote that the little girl was happy that her mother was back at work in a society that was ‘free of gender bias’.

Although Lynne’s post garnered a few negative comments for being ‘too sensitive’, the fact that it has been shared by so many means it has resonated with people, and if it sparks a difficult conversation that can only be a good thing.

And with over six thousand reactions, it definitely has people talking…

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