Re: Next question...
> If anything, in the workplace, there's a discrimination against non-parenthood. Childrens' numerous activities and illnesses are seen as a perfectly acceptable reason for parents to work at home, or to take time off that somehow is never booked as holiday.
Ah, this ignorant self-absorbed bollocks again.
Look, illness happens. Children get ill. And children can't just tell their teachers they're going to take the rest of the day off and go home and look after themselves. They require help. Until they reach a certain age, it is actually illegal to leave them to fend for themselves. So yes, parents often need to go get their kids and look after them at zero notice.
Employers, not being utter fuckwits, recognise this simple fact of life and so cut their parent employees the necessary slack. Because, even assuming said employers are actually hard-hearted bastards like you and don't give a fuck about their staff beyond how much money they make, what's the alternative? If they refuse to allow a bit of flexibility for parents, those parents will simply stop working for them. You cannot bring up a child while working for an employer who makes it difficult for you. And, of course, the ones who will find it easiest to find work elsewhere are the best ones.
You seem to think that refusing to allow a bit of flexibility for parents would lead to some vindictively utopian world in which parents were forced to stay in the office no matter what happened to their kids. It would in fact lead to a mass exodus of staff. Unless of course your idea were enforced across the whole economy instead of in just individual firms, in which case it would lead to the collapse of society. GOOD PLAN.
Or maybe we should just keep women out of the workplace, like we used to. That was an effective solution to your problem.
Try asking your employer for some emergency short-notice time off because your twenty-five-year-old friend is ill and you need to look after him. Not only will your employer (probably) refuse, but they will refuse knowing that it's not something you're going to leave the company over.
> Non-parents just don't have those excuses.
It's not an excuse; it's a negotiating position.
And everyone benefits from living in a society in which it is possible to work and bring up children. You would prefer parenthood to render people unemployable? How much tax are you willing to pay, just to avoid the very occasional moment of seething resentment in your life?
All that being said, in my experience, employers have been quite reasonable about letting me take time off in emergencies that have nowt to do with kids. A friend with meningitis, a girlfriend with a kidney infection, a water leak flooding my flat, and the less alarming stuff like bloody useless public transport: time off, no problem. Shit happens. I'm sure some employers are far less reasonable -- and I'm sure they're unreasonable to everyone, not just the non-parents.
> that somehow is never booked as holiday.
How do you know? Are you in your firm's HR department, or is someone in HR breaching the confidentiality of your colleagues? Or are you just guessing?
Because I've worked for some extremely reasonable and generous people in my time, and all they've allowed me to do is to take holiday at very short notice or to take time off and then make up the hours some other time.