CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Young Mums Want to Stay Home

Dec 6, 1994

A new survey put out by the Australian National University has found that the majority of Australians prefer that mothers with young children stay home.

The survey, conducted by the International Social Science Survey, found that 65 per cent of respondents said that a mother should stay at home when there is a child under school age. Only 4 per cent said that mothers should work full-time under those circumstances, while 31 per cent said mothers should work part-time.

Asked what the mother should do if the youngest child starts school, 16 per cent said work full-time, 73 per cent said work part-time, and 11 per cent said stay at home.

When asked about women entering the paid workforce after marrying but before there are children, 84 per cent said work full-time, 13 per cent said work part-time, and 2 per cent said stay at home.

The survey, entitled “Norms on Women’s Employment Over the Life Course: Australia, 1989-93” sampled opinions of 2203 respondents nationwide.

The large majority of those opposed to having mothers with young children in the paid workforce stands in marked contrast to the attempt by feminist-led government bureaucrats to push more and more young mums into paid employment. As the author of the report, Mariah Evans put it, “Governments aspiring to increase their tax base by bringing mothers of pre-schoolers into the workforce still have a great deal of persuading to do, as their policies remain contrary to most Australian values.”

Indeed, the survey reinforces the call by the Australian Family Association to implement a Homemakers Allowance, which would restore genuine choice as to whether young mums work at home or in the paid workplace.

That Australians want their young children looked after by their own mothers is not unique to Australia. Evans notes that “in most advanced societies, the overwhelming majority of women continue to leave the labour force when there are young children at home.” Nature, it seems, knows best, and no amount of government manipulation can alter the fact that young children need their mothers, and mothers want to be with their young children.

Politicians may think that pushing more mums into the workplace is a sign of progress. But a historical perspective suggests otherwise. As social analyst Peter Drucker once said, “We are busily unmaking one of the proudest social achievements in the nineteenth century, which was to take married women out of the work force so they could devote themselves to family and children.”

Such a statement may not wash with the feminist mindset ensconced in Canberra, but it reflects a reality far greater than our politicians realise. And this latest survey simply bears this out.

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One Response to Young Mums Want to Stay Home

  • Thanks Bill, for bringing this to light.
    This is very interesting because it is not heard, if at all very faintly. What you mostly hear is that working mothers HAVE to go to work. In most cases they want to go to work to pay for everything they want (perceived as a need) and because it is more fulfilling than dealing with a baby or young child, so they think.They tend to get preferential treatment at schools which comes across to a stay-at-home mum as being a more valued member of society.
    I wonder if there is a more recent survey since this was written (2004).
    Linda Ure

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