What women want in 2010: A husband who'll be the main breadwinner
By Beth Hale
Last updated at 10:09 AM on 18th February 2010
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Young mothers are turning their backs on high-powered careers to raise their children, a study has found.
Their mothers, or even grandmothers, lived through a time when women fought for full-time work and better pay. But today's generation is returning to the traditional values of home and family - and looking to men to be the breadwinners.
The about-face was highlighted yesterday in research presented by leading sociologist Geoff Dench, who has analysed responses to questions asked in the annual British Social Attitudes survey.
His analysis comes against a background of growing political pressure on mothers to go out to work. It revealed a striking change in values in the decade since New Labour swept to power.
The number of mothers with children under four who thought that family life would suffer if women worked full-time fell in the years before Tony Blair took office, dropping from 43 per cent in 1990 to 21 per cent in 1998. But by 2002 it was rising and in 2006 had soared to 37 per cent.
Similarly the number of women in the same category who agreed that most women want a home and children fell between 1994 and 2002 to 15 per cent.
Regression? Women in 2010 are turning their backs on high-powered careers to raise their children
But in 2006, the last time the question was asked in the survey, that number had rocketed to 32 per cent - higher even than back in 1986 when it stood at 20 per cent.
By far the biggest leap came when women were asked whether they agreed that men and women should have different roles. In 1986, 40 per cent of women with children under four said 'yes', four years later that had plummeted to 13 per cent and by 2002 it had dropped still lower to 2 per cent.
In 2006, however, that had jumped back up to 17 per cent.
Last night Mr Dench, who completed his analysis for the right-leaning Centre for Policy Studies in association with the Hera Trust, said: 'Women with young children are going back to the very traditional division of labour in which they want the husband as the breadwinner.
'Having tried full-time working themselves they have found the home much more interesting and want to be enabled to have that - especially if the only job they have access to is a dull job.'