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The number of stay-at-home mothers is falling by almost 10,000 per annum, despite the steep rise in unemployment figures, according to figures from the 2011 Census.
According to the new figures, published today, show that there are now 230,645 married women working in the home, which represents a 12.9pc fall since the last Census in 2006.
Then, there were 264,943 married women working in the home.
Overall, the figures showed that the trend away from women working in the home has been marked since 1986.
In that year, there were 653,398 women working in the home; this is now down to 321,878 (including unmarried women), representing a fall of over 50pc.
The figures also showed that, in terms of assessing employment by marital status and sex, married men had the highest rate of workforce participation at 75.1 per cent, compared with 61.9 for all persons.
Overall, people in family units had a higher participation rate (68.1pc) than people as a whole (61.9pc).
However the figures also confirmed the fact that men have been hit hardest by the current recession.
The number of people unemployed in April 2011 was 424,843, an increase of 136.7pc compared with April 2006 and amounting to an additional 245,387 people unemployed, with men accounting for 68.3pc of the increase.
Male unemployment rose to 274,327 up from 106,633, an increase of 157.3 per cent. This resulted in a male unemployment rate of 22.3 per cent. Female unemployment stood at 150,516, up from 72,823 in 2006. This gave a female unemployment rate of 15 per cent, considerably less than their male counterparts.
Last May, Finola Bruton, wife of former Taoiseach John Bruton said that men were being hit much harder by the recession than women and Irish men are being harder hit than their counterparts anywhere else in Europe.
Mrs Bruton made the remarks in her closing comments at a conference she chaired yesterday on women, home and work organised by The Iona Institute.
She pointed out that unemployment rate for Irish men is 70pc higher than for Irish women at 17pc versus 10pc and that the Irish education system is failing young men and “has done a much better job preparing young women for the job market”.
This figure was “in sharp contrast to all other European countries, where the rates of unemployment are roughly equal,” Mrs Bruton said.
“It is also in contrast to the situation in Ireland in 2007, when male and female unemployment rates were virtually the same. This difference is found among all age groups. Of the under 25 year olds who are unemployed in Ireland 233,000 are male and 123,000 are female”.
Mrs Bruton acknowledged that unemployment was difficult for both men and women but she suggested that for men, “whose self identified role in society is often defined by what they do outside the home, unemployment is particularly traumatic”.
She said: “Various studies have described the erosion of their identities, the isolation of being jobless and the indignities of downward mobility. Then there is the financial and emotional strain which can corrode family life.
“Men seem to be more vulnerable than women in how unemployment affects them. This gender imbalance in the unemployment figures in this country provides a profound challenge to marriage.”