Gender-role Attitudes in Britain and the USA
In Britain there have been increasing incentives for married women to work or to return to work partly because a reduction in the number of school leavers has left a gap to be filled in the labour market (Truman, this volume). Yet social pressures in recent years may be working in the opposite direction, as the rhetoric of politicians emphasises the virtues of traditional roles in family life, and as the media insists that motherhood is once again ‘fashionable’ (e.g. Guardian, 8 March 1990). Social and employment policies have an important effect on women’s labour market choices, as Walters and Dex demonstrate (this volume). However, whether British women take up any new employment opportunities may depend at least as much on attitudes, especially on those attitudes to do with women’s place in paid work and family life (Fogarty et al., 1971; Brannen, 1987; Gordon, 1990).
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