Sunday, September 10, 2006

The survey upsetting head-banging feminists

A British survey of 3000 young women has found a major disenchantment with the idea of female careerism.

The most revealing finding? Only 13% of young British women wish to be in full-time work when they turn 40.

Why have young women turned against full-time careers? The reason seems to be that they have observed their own mothers run themselves ragged trying to mix together a full-time career and motherhood. The daughters don't want to live that way and, sensibly enough, prefer the idea of part-time work or full-time homemaking.

Other interesting results of the finding were that:

Only 31% of women say they find their job fulfilling

75% want to get married before having a baby

If given the options of being a homemaker, a lady of leisure or a career woman, only 23% would prefer to be a career woman.

The editor of the New Woman magazine commented on these findings by saying that,

The New Man experiment embarked on with such enthusiasm by their mothers, simply hasn't worked. Young women think their mothers just ended up with two full-time jobs - work and home - while nagging their man to do more housework.

Young women today are more than happy to sort out the home as long as he provides the lifestyle they want...

The truth is, young women saw the blueprint their mothers and society had created for them and thought 'We can do better' ... They've watched their mothers exhaust themselves and want a better work/life balance. If this means that a young woman wants to restore her partner as the main breadwinner so she can achieve an easier life, so be it, why not.

And the feminist response? The women's editor for the left-wing New Statesman wrote:

Reading the newspapers ... can sometimes be especially demoralising ... sometimes it's the very smallest stories ... that really get you down. So, for instance, the widely reported magazine survey of 3,000 women (average age:28) ... made me bang my head against my desk while gouging my thigh with a compass.

That compass would have been worn blunt if the Guardian editor had happened to read a follow-up piece on the survey published in the Daily Mail. Interviews with young women confirmed the kind of attitudes revealed in the survey. Here are some of the thoughts held by the young women:

Felicity Callaghan: "[Mum] was always trying to juggle everything ... She must have been permanently exhausted ... I vowed I'd never try to cram so much into my life ... If all feminism afforded my generation was the prospect of working ourselves to the bone and being expected to be mothers at the same time - well, Women's Lib was a waste of time. I intend to be at home with my children when they are young ... I have no intention of being the main breadwinner ... My mother's generation seemed to be competing with men, but I couldn't care less. What was it all for? I don't feel like I have to prove myself by having a career, I just want to be happy and relaxed."

Barbara Garcia: "My earliest memory is of my mother rushing out of the house carrying a briefcase ... I remember always straining to keep my eyes open and to stay awake so I could see her when she came home from work ... I used to envy my friends who had stay-at-home mums ... I remember once going home to a schoolfriend's house and almost weeping with envy when I sat down to tea around the table with her two brothers, mother and father - all talking and laughing ... The constant pressure and stress to make both sides of her life work made [Mum] look old before her time. She was skinny and short-tempered ... I don't want to miss a minute of my children's early years. I want to be a proper mother and to have a husband who can support me. Stuff feminism."

Sarah-Jane Sherwood: "Like most of my generation, I think personal happiness is more important than a successful career. I want to feel fulfilled, not be tied to some boring desk job from dawn until dusk ... I work hard at the moment to fund my lifestyle, but I'd far rather be supported by a man when I have children, so I can have the time to enjoy them. I have no intention of working nine to five."

The lesson for young men in all this? Don't be put off by feminist triumphalism when you're in your late teens and early twenties. Work yourself into a good situation career-wise and financially and you'll eventually find yourself in a very strong position to marry well. The male provider role has not been made redundant, in spite of all the feminist efforts to make it so: women still want to be financially supported, especially when they have young children. Hardly any women envisage a life of full-time paid work. They want to marry a man who can take care of them by earning a good income.

(P.S. This survey is similar in its findings to an even larger one undertaken in 2003, in which over 90% of the 5000 British teenage girls surveyed wanted to be provided for by their future partners.)


  1. My goodness, this is encouraging!

    What we need now is for a similar survey to show that a large majority of young people want to protect and preserve their culture and people and think multiculturalism is bunk. We're not there yet, I think, but perhaps we may yet get there. The reaction of these young women just goes to show that the truth - that what really works - eventually works out.

  2. Well, about 13% of me, doesnt wan to be in fullime work when I'm 40. And at least 75 percent of me wants o get married before i'm a kid. And in case, you didn't already get it, i'm a man.

    So what's your point? That the quote you've snipped from new statesman represents feminism? Give me a break. You say you want to undersand what your up against... That is important, but it's even more useful to locate where there are common interests. You misunderstand the broad feminist project...and so do most of the women quoted.

    Personally im of the opinion that now it should be about gender studies and not feminist sudies, but denying what good has happened in the past shows up your ideological blinkers.

    Interesting blog, though It's rare to find the conservative view put even semi-convincingly :-)

    And Bobby, I can't believe you're running the argument that women shouls stop striving for equal rights (check thefigures,man, and youll see there's a way to go) because they have a psychological need for a dependent (monogamous!) relationship. Sheesh.

    You have some relevant concerns and if you stop beating up your straw-feminists, i reckon they would be happy to discuss them with you.

  3. I wonder if they asked the boys where they wanted to be at 40 years of age?
    I'm not sure but I'd bet that a large hunk of them would have the desire to not be working full-time at that point also.

    I'm a housewife, I'm supported by my partner and I'm happy about it. It was not what I would call a 'cherished hope', its just how things ended up.

    Don't get me wrong though, I would fight tooth and nail to keep the right to choose my own path. Just because I'm happy pottering around the house doesn't mean that all women should be forced to do the same, just like I shouldn't be forced to be a ball-busting executive of some multinational corporation.

    Its nice that women are using their right to choose in a way that fosters families and relationships, but that isn't a free ticket to take that choice away.