Gender and work in Scotland: findings from Understanding Society

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Report

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Summary

Analyses data from Understanding Society on mothers returning to work and gender roles and attitudes.
Summary of Findings -
Mothers Returning to Employment:
Mothers were significantly more likely than fathers to be out of employment due to caring responsibilities, both when the newborn was first recorded and in the following wave. The majority of mothers who have taken maternity leave intend to return to employment, and of those who intend to return to employment, the majority intend to do so before the child is 1 year old. The most common reason for not intending to return to employment is a preference to look after the child, but mothers also cite difficulties in finding a job with suitable pay and hours.
The presence of labour market barriers is reflected in the finding that groups of mothers with higher levels of unemployment when the newborn was first recorded continued to be more likely to be unemployed in the next wave. Furthermore, those mothers who did move into employment were more likely to do so part-time. These patterns were especially pronounced for mothers in the child poverty priority groups, who were less likely to be employed and more likely to be carrying out family care.
Gender Roles and Attitudes:
Whereas married mothers in employment were more likely than married fathers in employment to agree with the statement that "husband and wife should both contribute to household income", married mothers not in employment were less likely to agree than their spouses. The pattern was broadly inverted for responses to the statement that "the wife should stay at home while the husband earns". Interestingly, younger cohorts were no more likely to express progressive attitudes than older cohorts.
Fathers reported spending less time on domestic responsibilities than mothers reported, and this pattern was more pronounced among married couples in which only the father was in employment. In terms of particular activities, both spouses tended to indicate that the mother was mostly responsible for grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, washing, and childcare, especially in married couples in which only the father was in employment. For gardening and DIY, these patterns were largely inverted, whereas for financial decisions both partners tended to indicate that the activity was mainly shared. In the case of childcare, both spouses tended to indicate that the mother was mostly responsible if only the father was in employment, whereas if both spouses were in employment they both tended to indicate that the activity was mainly shared. In general, both fathers and mothers were generally more likely to state that they mostly did the activity than was indicated by the responses of their spouses, with fathers more likely than mothers to state that the activity was mostly shared.

Subjects

Time Use, Time Use, Labour Market, Labour Market, Unemployment, Unemployment, Childbearing: Fertility, Childbearing: Fertility, Life Course Analysis, Life Course Analysis, Social Attitudes, Social Attitudes, Sociology Of Households, Sociology Of Households, Caregiving and Caregiving

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