2018 has already turned out to be one of the most progressive years for feminism, thanks to the rise of initiatives like the #MeToo and Time’s Up campaigns. However despite this, social attitudes towards women’s roles as mothers haven’t changed much at all, according to new research.
A survey on British Social Attitudes found that only 7% of Brits believe that mothers with children under the age of five should have a full time job. In fact, one in three people believe that women with infants should be stay at home mothers, while 38% deemed part time work acceptable.
The results were concluded after a random selection of 3,988 adults were interviewed on the topic between July and October 2017. The findings pointed out that 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. But, 72% of those interviewed did disagree that ‘a man’s job is to earn money – a woman’s job is to look after home and family.’
Speaking to the BBC, 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.’
As stated by the Office for National Statistics, 71% of women aged between 16 and 64 are currently in work, meaning the survey comes at a time where the highest number of women in the UK are in employment.