Traditional family roles increasingly eroded

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The Independent Online
The traditional image of the family, with Dad going out to work and Mum staying at home, has been dramatically rejected during the last decade. Whereas in 1984 the majority of men still subscribed to traditional gender roles, they are now in the minority, with one-fifth fewer believing this and even fewer women prepared to stay at home.

A two-year research study, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, which analysed data from 5,000 British households, found there was no evidence of a backlash against women's rights to work and four out of five women said they would work if there was adequate childcare.

Both men and women reject the idea that women's work has a negative impact on family life, although relatively few of either sex have any illusion that employment is a panacea and think that a woman and her family will be happier if she goes out to work.

Despite changing attitudes, the demise of the family has been greatly exaggerated, the study found. Regardless of individual circumstances, family issues and events are still what matter most in people's lives. Glenda Cooper