What Women Want
Evidence from British Social Attitudes
by Geoff Dench
The British government has recently intensiﬁed its efforts to create a workforce in which men and women occupy identical positions. A number of other countries have been watching with interest – and approval. But is this what women actually want? This book originated in a series of family policy seminars, held at the Centre for Policy Studies, which explored the ﬁndings of Britain’s leading national annual survey, British Social Attitudes, to see what light these can throw on the issue.
They show that social policy has failed to recognise how women’s orientation to paid work remains different from men’s. For most women, family and community life is more important than a career. This is even more true of lone mothers. Many of these may be victims of policies prioritising work for women, as lone motherhood has grown following a rise in male worklessness and disappearance of male breadwinners. The state is the new provider.
Over the last few decades of change, families (and with them society generally) have been held together by grandparents. But as lone motherhood spreads into this generation too, extended families without men or work are becoming more common. The underclass has arrived. Ordinary women who can see this happening around them, and understand its roots, are becoming alienated from mainstream political parties.
Published by Hera Trust
Publication date March 15th 2010
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