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A mother's place 'is in the home'

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A woman’s place may no longer be in the home – but if she has pre-school children, it should be, according to an annual survey of social attitudes.

Only 7% of British Social Attitudes survey interviewees felt mothers of under-5s should have full-time jobs.

Part-time work was judged acceptable by 38% – but one in three felt those with under-5s should be stay-at-home mums.

Meanwhile, 72% disagreed that “a man’s job is to earn money – a woman’s job is to look after home and family”.

Older people, unqualified people and those on lower incomes were more likely to support a traditional view of women as homemakers and men as breadwinners.

A representative random sample of 3,988 adults was interviewed between July and October 2017.

Parental leave

Lead author, Eleanor Attar Taylor, from the National Centre for Social Research, said: “Attitudes towards gender issues depend on the topic under question.

“Looking at issues around roles in the home and labour market, we find that there is a marked reduction of support for traditional gender roles of the man working and the woman looking after the home, mirrored by increasing agreement that both men and women should contribute to household income.

“However, when it comes to maternal employment, the majority of people still think either mothers should stay at home or work part-time, particularly when there is a child under school age.

“In addition, regarding parental leave, there is little difference between the sexes, with a majority feeling the mother should take all or most of the leave.”

The survey findings come at a time when the highest proportion of women are in paid work. Some 71% of women aged between 16 and 64 are working, according to the Office for National Statistics (2018).



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