Only 17pc of mothers want to work full-time

Press release from The Iona Institute 

Only 17pc of mothers want to work full-time

Public more likely to say stay-at-home mothers are undervalued

Zappone child-care policy out of step with public opinion

December 7, 2016 – Only 17 percent of mothers with children under the age of 17 would opt for full-time work if given a totally free choice, according to a new Amarach opinion poll commissioned by The Iona Institute.

In addition, respondents were far more likely to say that women who work in the home are undervalued by society compared with women who work outside the home.

When asked, ‘If money were no object, and you were free to do whatever you wanted, would you stay at home, would you work full time or would you work part time?’:

  •      35 percent of women with children under 17 said they would prefer to stay-at-home full time
  •      48 percent would opt to work part time
  •      17 percent would opt to work full time outside the home.

The respective figures for men were 18 percent, 45 percent and 37 percent. (While most people would not opt to work full time if given the choice, we see that there are marked gender-differences indicating different gender preferences).

Respondents were also asked: ‘Which does society value more, women who work in the home, women who work outside the home, or both equally’?

The responses were:

  •      16 percent said women in the home were valued more
  •      37 percent said women who work outside the home are valued more
  •      46 percent said both are valued equally.

Commenting on the poll results, Maria Steen of The Iona Institute said: “The survey shows how misguided the recent Budget was in discriminating in favour of working parents at the expense of parents who would rather stay at home with their children, for part of their childhood at least. This policy was introduced by Children’s Minster, Katherine Zappone. We see that only 17pc of women with children under 17 want to work full-time and that 35pc would prefer to stay at home with their children. Why is Government policy so biased in favour of mothers who want to go out to work?”

She continued: “The poll also shows that people are much more likely to say women in the home are undervalued compared with women who work outside the home. This is hardly a surprise when Government policy itself so badly undervalues the choice to stay at home with your children.”

She concluded: “Government policy should be neutral between home-care, day-care, and other forms of child-care. This is the fairest way to proceed”.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

  1. The Iona Institute is a Christian think tank.
  2. The questions were asked of a representative sample of 1,001 Irish adults aged 18 and over, using the Amarach Research online omnibus service. The survey was conducted last month.
  3. A poll conducted by Amarach Research on behalf of The Iona Institute in 2013 discovered that only 17 percent of respondents said a crèche was their preferred choice for children under 5 during the working day. Forty-nine percent opted for minding their child at home, and 27 percent preferred a relative or other child-minder rather than a crèche.
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