Young mothers reject full time work in favour of kids

Young mothers are increasingly turning their backs on high profile careers and looking to men as the main breadwinners, according to a leading sociologist.

Geoff Dench, who revealed his findings during a presentation on family policy, said: “Women with young children are going back to the very traditional division of labour in which they want the husband as the breadwinner.

“Having tried full-time working themselves they have found the home much more interesting and want to be enabled to have that”.

Geoff Dench, whose research was based on an analysis of the British Social Attitudes survey, said that while mothers have increased the amount of paid work they undertake it is mostly part time.

This allows them to spend more time with their families.

The shift in attitudes can be seen in the number of women who agreed that men and women should have different roles.

In 1986 40 per cent of women with children under four asserted that men and women should have different roles, but by 2002 this figure had plummeted to 13 per cent.

However, this figure has seen a resurgence and in 2006 it had risen to 17 per cent.

The research also revealed a surge in the number of mothers with children under four who thought that family life would suffer if they worked full time.

In 1990 this figure was 43 per cent, but this had dropped to 21 per cent only eight years later.

However, by 2006 37 per cent of women with children under four thought full-time work would be detrimental to family life.

Mr Dench’s research showed that the resurgence of the more traditional family roles is most evident among young mothers.

Mr Dench presented his findings at a presentation, held by the Centre for Policy Studies in association with the Hera Trust, on family policies on Wednesday.

This is not the first time that women have indicated a desire to return to the more traditional family structure.

Last October a report criticised Government policies which push women into employment after finding that most find fulfillment 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.

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