Keren Smedley | 11th July 2016
I was delighted to have the opportunity to write about families that have decided to manage their lives in the way that suits them rather than conforming to the norm. I spoke to three women in their 40s who have all decided together with their partners that they would be the main earners in their families whilst their partners look after the children and the household. I’m amazed that this is still something we are talking about in 2016. When I was a young woman I had assumed that I was in the last cohort of mothers who would give up their careers or at the least reduce the time they worked in favour of their husbands careers.
From the statistics in both the UK and Australia this isn’t the case. Many families, due to financial pressures, find themselves in a position where both partners have to work full time and their children are looked after by grandparents, child minders or day care nurseries. That in itself is a change in how families are managing. It is a reflection on how expensive it is to buy a home nowadays and how huge mortgages for the fortunate ones or needing to save for a deposit for less fortunate, makes it essential for both parties to work.
What I uncovered writing my piece is that when there was a flexibility for one person to stay at home it was the woman. I’m really interested as to why? Do we believe women are better at it? Are we still bound by stereotypes? Is it harder for men to take a career break and then go back into the work place? I don’t know the answer but I would be really interested to hear your thoughts.
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