Women find more satisfaction in motherhood than in full-time work, a report by a centre-right think tank said today.
The Centre for Policy Studies called for the British government to “stop pumping billions into institutionalised childcare” and allow women to choose how to bring up their children instead.
It also called for a “profound cultural shift” in which the “establishment should stop forcing women into a mould, and allow them instead to realise their ambitions”.
“Instead of finding satisfaction in full-time work, most women realise themselves in their other roles as carers, partners, community members, and above all mothers,” the 'What Women Want' report said.
It called for “a value system that is family-centred, not work-centred” and said this means “rehabilitating free emotional services, from cooking family meals to volunteering at the school fair”.
A YouGov survey for the report found 12% of mothers wanted to work full-time and 31% did not want to work at all.
Only 15% of mothers with children under five thought that the mother, in a family where the father worked and there were two children under five, should work full-time, the poll found and 49% thought she should not work at all.
The report also said that fathers asked the same question offered “an almost identical response”.
Only 2% thought the mother should work when her husband worked and the children were under five – with 48% saying she should not work at all.
The poll also found 19% of women, and 28% of men, working full-time would not work if they did not have to.
The report said it was not a case of women being “work-shy”.
“It is about women having different priorities from those promoted by the governing elite,” it said.
“Ordinary women – and men – value the whole woman, who can fulfil more than her role as worker. Those who influence and design public policy claim to represent women, but choose to ignore their preferences.”
In her conclusion to the report, Cristina Odone, former deputy editor of the New Statesman, said: “We need to break the stranglehold that a small coterie of women who work full-time and buy into the macho way of life, enjoy on our public life.
“They have, for years, misrepresented real women who reject the masculine value system for one that rates caring above a career, and interdependence above independence.
“Real women do not want to commit full-time to a job. Real women do not see that as the route to self-realisation. They recognise that there is far more to life than a healthy profit or a great deal.
“Material woman, who apes material man, is over. The economy cannot sustain her, society feels betrayed by her. The future belongs to the real woman, who points to a lifestyle embracing feminine values.
“Let’s hope this government – or the next – is brave enough to heed her call.”
:: YouGov surveyed two samples of men and women – one of 2,270 adults and another of 2,420 adults – in February and March for the report.