“The people of Britain are moving away from the idea that men should be breadwinners and women homemakers,” said Nancy Kelley, the deputy chief executive of NatCen.
“Yet when we asked people if they thought mothers of pre-school age children should work, we found no increase in support in recent years, against a backdrop of several policy changes aiming to help working families manage work and childcare.
“People are supportive of parental leave being shared between men and women but, in practice, very few actually do.”
I’m ‘supportive’ of lots of things I don’t actually want to do myself. Why is it so startling that other people feel the same?
“This suggests that government must look beyond the law if they are hoping to balance raising a child between mums and dads.”
Why is this an aim of government, if it clearly isn’t an aim of the people?
Every year since 1983, NatCen has interviewed more than 3,000 people about life in the UK and the way that the country is run. New questions are added each year, but all are designed with the intent of repeating them to chart changes in attitudes over time.
This year, for the first time, in the wake of the #metoo phenomenon, NatCen explored attitudes around a man commenting loudly on a woman’s appearance in the street, by asking respondents their opinion of a scenario in which the man loudly comments that she “looks gorgeous”.
The findings were surprising: overall, uninvited comments from men about a woman’s appearance were thought to be wrong by 57%. But while 61% of men thought such remarks were wrong, just 52% of women were of the same opinion.
I feel it’s more accurate to say that 61% of men told the survey what they thought they wanted to hear. As well as a good proportion of that 52% of women.