30/03/2011 11:17 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Evening Meetings At School Branded 'Sexist'

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has claimed schools and local councils could be guilty of discrimination by having parents' evenings or public meetings at night because mothers might be at home putting their children to bed.

The guidelines, which form part of a code of practice for the new Equality Act, says councils could face legal action if 'it discovers fewer women than men' attend meetings on weekday evenings, and that women could base their case for not attending on childcare issues.

The code claims: 'This is enough to demonstrate disadvantage. She does not have to show the absence of women is attributable in particular cases to childcare responsibilities.'

It goes on to say that women would not have to show they had lost out financially.

The Conservative chairman of the Commons education committee, Graham Stuart, branded the code 'iditoic': 'It is extraordinarily idiotic when we need to be encouraging people to come together. The last thing we need is to put the fear of God into people who want to hold a meeting in the evening.'

A spokesperson for the commission said: 'It's sensible for a public body to think about who it wants to consult and what time of day those people might be available.'

What do you think?
Have you struggled to attend school events in the evening because of domestic duties?
Or do you think the code is ridiculous?