Public Opinion Down On British Working Mums

A new study out of the UK says: get back to the kitchen, betch! Well, it doesn't exactly say that, but the survey conducted by Cambridge University sociologists shows that the number of people who believe "family life would not suffer if a woman went to work" has dropped substantially since 1998. Back in those hazy Blair/Clinton years, 51% of women and 45.9% of men believe that family life would be okay if women worked, and a follow up in 2002 showed that only 46% of women and 42% of men were supportive of women working outside the home, the BBC reports.But! There's a silver lining, as most Brits no longer believe that it's the man's job to work and the woman's job to raise wee ones — only 31.1% of women and 41.1% of men believe in this old-fashioned notion, down from 59.2% of women and 65.5% of men in 1984. "It is conceivable that opinions are shifting as the shine of the 'super-mum' syndrome wears off, and the idea of women juggling high-powered careers while also baking cookies and reading bedtime stories is increasingly seen to be unrealisable by ordinary mortals," says Cambridge sociologist Jacqueline Scott. Really Jacqui?? Are we still pretending that this "super-mum" was ever anything but a fantasy meant to make women feel guilty if they weren't perfect? I've said it before here, and I'll say it again: parenting takes compromise, and children miss out if a father is never, ever home just as they suffer if a mother is never home. Every individual makes the choices he or she believes is best for their family — however — it does make me wonder why this shift has occurred. As it has been noted, there's been somewhat of a renewed backlash against feminism since the riot grrrl-friendly 90s, and certainly there has been a glorification of motherhood, with every celebrity baby bump receiving hysterical coverage on the internet and in magazines. Speaking of the glorification of past ideals, there was an article in CNN yesterday about the "growing trend" of stay-at-home wives without children. First of all, the statistics they gave on this "trend" were vague at best, so I'm going to have to assume that it was manufactured by an editor who realized it was August and that he was going to have to come up with something to write about in this molasses-slow news month. Anyway, CNN dug up some boring-ass ladies who fill their days doing laundry, charity work, and "creative writing." Apparently, they are less stressed out than when they worked! Imagine that! Doing yoga all day and a few errands is less stressful than a full time job! Anyway, I'm less irked by these women than by the attitude above that women working outside the home is harmful to children. There are many, many, different kinds of full time jobs, and it's terrifyingly reductive of people to think that working moms are anathema to healthy kidlets.

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'Support For Working Mums Falls' [BBC] No Kids, No Jobs For Growing Number Of Wives [CNN]

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