Majority believe a woman's place is in the home, says new study

The gender equality fight in Britain has already peaked, with greater numbers of people convinced that a woman's place is in the home, according to new research published today.

A study of both male and female attitudes towards women in the workplace over the past 30 years has revealed "mounting concern" that female employees who successfully pursue a career are doing so at the expense of family life.

Researchers at Cambridge University compared the results of hundreds of social attitude surveys from the past three decades. They found that although current attitudes are more egalitarian than they were in the 1980s, there are growing signs that the gender equality fight hit a high point in the 1990s and has since gone into decline.

The findings suggest that both men and women in Britain are having second thoughts about whether women should try to pursue both a career and a family life.

In the mid-1990s 51 per cent of men and 50 per cent of women agreed with the idea that family life would not suffer if a woman is in full-time employment. In the latest equivalent survey those figures have fallen to 42 per cent of men and 46 per cent of women agreeing that work does not impinge on family life.

The research also shows that fewer women now believe a successful career is the key to financial and social freedom. In 1991 nearly 65 per cent of female respondents said that a job was the best way for a woman to be independent. That has since dropped to just 54 per cent.

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