Women may be losing faith in superwoman image

Women appear to be becoming disillusioned with the superwoman image of juggling a high-flying career and childcare, says a report. Plus other news.

Women may be becoming increasingly disillusioned with the idea that they can have it all, balancing a high-flying career with being a hands-on mother, according to a report.
Professor Jacqueline Scott from the Department of Sociology at Cambridge University looked at attitudes to women and employment 20 years ago and now. Her findings, published in Women and Employment; Changing Lives and New Challenges, show that twenty years ago 43 per cent of women and 37 per cent of men in Britain thought women working would not have a detrimental impact on the family. By 1994, 50 per cent of women and 51 per cent of men felt this way, but a survey in 2002 found only 46% of women and 42% of men thought the family did not suffer when women worked full time. However, the numbers of people saying women should contribute to household income remained static at 59% between 1994 and 2002. Also, the number of women who believed that having a job was the best way to be independent fell from 60% in 1994 to 54% in 2002.
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Working parents are ‘positive role model’
Seven out of 10 working parents think that they are offering a positive role model to their children, according to a survey.
The survey by Jobcentre Plus and That’s Life magazine found that eight out of ten mothers said their main reason for working was to have money to pay bills and do things as a family.
Seven out of 10 parents felt it was easier to go back to work after having children than they had anticipated, with most saying the parenting skills they had learnt made them more employable.
A third of those surveyed felt that their children had grown in confidence due to being in childcare.
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Working mums ‘make good employees’
Working mums are good time managers and good at negotiations and office diplomacy, a HR firm has said after a survey by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation found 78% of recruiters had been asked by employers not to put forward women of child-bearing age.
HR GO plc says there are many advantages for employers in employing working mums. Apart from their office skills, they tend to be more committed than other workers if offered the right work patterns to suit their families and are often willing to work flexibly to cover seasonal peaks and they often have a wealth of experience to offer companies, says the company.
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Overtime fuels gender inequality
Women whose husbands work overtime are more likely to leave their jobs or reduce their hours, a US study has found.
The careers of men whose wives work overtime are not affected. The study by Youngjoo Cha at Cornell University looked at dual-earning couples and found that working overtime increased the likelihood of a return to gender stereotyped roles of woman as caregiver and man as sole breadwinner.
It found that women whose husbands worked over 60 hours a week were 44% more likely to give up their jobs than those whose husbands did not work such long overtime hours. Professional couples were more affected than non-professionals.
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US survey paints picture of numerous challenges for new mothers
New mothers face a huge number of challenges after giving birth, according to a major US survey.
The New Mothers Speak Out national survey involves a sample of almost 1,000 women interviewed just after giving birth and up to 18 months afterwards.
Much of it focused on childbirth and health issues, but it also focused on areas such as gender equality. it found that 73% of mothers said they provided more childcare than their partners. Some 49% of mothers employed full time said they did most of the childcare, with 3% of dads doing most and 48% of couples saying they shared childcare equally. Around 20% of women said their partner gave little or no affectionate, emotional or practical support to them.
Around 29% of mothers were employed full time with 14% employed part time. Those employed full time were more likely to have just one child.
Some 79% of mothers said that being away from their baby had proven difficult, with childcare, breastfeeding, lack of partner support and lack of support in the workplace representing challenges for a significant percentage of women.
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