Children come before career for ‘real’ women, study finds

A new report has criticised Government policies which push women into employment after finding that most find fulfilment in motherhood rather than in full time careers.

The report was written by Cristina Odone, a former deputy editor of the New Statesman magazine, and published by the Centre for Policy Studies.

Using figures from recent polls conducted by YouGov, Miss Odone found that only 12 per cent of mothers wanted to work full time, while almost a third did not want to work at all.

In families with two children under five and a father who worked, just one per cent of mothers said it was right for them to work full time.

Nearly half of mothers in these families thought they should not work at all.

Miss Odone attacked Government policies aimed at pushing women into the workplace and their children into nurseries.

She also expressed sympathy for women bombarded with images of “superwomen who manage everything, plus a high-profile career”, when many just wanted to leave their husbands to be the breadwinner while they care for their children.

She told the BBC: “The government has been getting more women into full-time work and getting more work out of those women.”

She added that women who put home and community before work were “seen as subversive by the government, by the elite who have a very different lifestyle and have different priorities”.

The report criticises state support for child daycare which has cost £21 billion in the last ten years, and bureaucratic regulations which discourage firms from offering female employees part-time work.

It advocates reform of the tax and benefit system which penalises mothers who choose to stay at home to raise their children.

The report’s introduction states: “Those who influence and design public policy claim to represent women, but choose to ignore their preferences.

“Their aim is to get more women into full employment, and ease their burden once they get there. Yet this policy satisfies only one in five women – and ignores the wishes of 99% of mothers with young children.”

And it concludes: “The future belongs to the real woman, who points to a lifestyle embracing feminine values.

“Let’s hope this Government – or the next – is brave enough to heed her call.”

Earlier this year CARE (Christian Action, Research and Education) released its third annual study on the ‘couple penalty’.

The study showed that married couples living together are suffering under the tax and benefit system which favours parents who have separated.

Another report published in January also showed that under the current tax system parents are financially better off if they split up.

The study from think-tank Civitas said parents are effectively penalised for living together, with some left more than 20 per cent poorer.

Related Resources