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The 'sad indictment on our society' facing many men right now

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Author and academic Stephen Holden knows that men face undeserved suspicion. He’s lived it.

As a single father, he went searching for an au pair online. Despite applying several times, he never received an acceptance, so he called the organisation responsible for placement.

“But you’re a single dad," Dr Holden was told. “They’re all girls."

Suspicion of men in times of heightened awareness of predators can cause stress for many, especially fathers, Dr Stephen Holden says.

A couple of weeks later, though, he was sent an applicant that fitted the bill. “They had great childcare experience, nieces and nephews," he says, before pausing. “And it was a guy."

Dr Holden is honest here. He says he then thought, "Am I sure I want a male looking after my young child? And then I thought I’m just doing exactly the same as everybody else!"

The male au pair was employed and became a valuable addition to his family. “But I had to overcome my own prejudice."

It’s not his only example. A second example involved finding a toddler one afternoon, on the beach.

He asked her where her parents were. “Then this woman flew out of........

© The Sydney Morning Herald