There are many stereotypes and platitudes thought and voiced about women’s attitudes, especially about their attitudes towards employment. Probably the most common are that women are uncommitted and even uninterested in working outside the home, or that they work only for pin money. Women are also traditionally thought to have different attitudes towards employment from men. At the same time we can note that women have been joining the labour force in increasing numbers, which suggests the opposite attitude, or that attitudes are changing. Sometimes these generalisations about women, or about women in comparison with men, conflict with each other. Stereotypes probably suffer regularly from such inconsistencies, if they have little empirical support. Also, it is often difficult in conversation to pin down exactly what women’s attitudes towards work are supposed to be. We can only make progress in documenting and understanding women’s attitudes by empirical examination. Such an approach will enable us to see how far the commonly expressed views are stereotypes or are correct, and how far women differ from each other in their attitudes.
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