Traditional Gender Roles Persist Despite Progress in Flexible Working

A major survey sponsored by, looking into how families manage working hours, flexible working and childcare.


Survey Highlights Traditional Divisions Between Mums and Dads Over Childcare and Working Hours

London, England – September 12, 2013 – Less than a quarter of dads work flexibly and only four percent work part time despite flexible work legislation applying equally to mums and dads, according to a major survey by and sponsored by, the world’s largest online care destination.
The annual survey of more than 2,500 shows that only 27% of working mums said they split childcare and housework equally with their partners, even though 18% earned more than their partners [a further 19% are the main breadwinners in their families as a result of being single parents].
Most women who responded to the survey returned part time after maternity leave or started a new job and some 56% said they earned less pro rata than before they had children. Research shows men’s wages typically go up after they have children.*
Despite this traditional divide in caring roles, 41% of women said they would consider sharing their maternity leave with their partners when shared parenting legislation comes into effect in 2014.
The annual survey shows women place flexible working at the top of their agenda for career progression. Some 70 percent said more flexible working would help their career progression. In rating what defined a family-friendly firm, the provision of flexi hours was more popular than part-time jobs. Moreover, some 66% of women said some homeworking would encourage them to work full time.
For those not in work, lack of appropriate flexible working is still the number one barrier to their return with the cost of childcare coming second. Some 58 percent of mothers who aren’t working cited childcare costs as a factor in preventing their return to work.
Some 53% said that grandparents helped out with childcare, a 10% increase since 2011. The amount parents paid for childcare ranged significantly with 36 percent paying nothing and 18 percent spending more than £500 a month.
Other survey findings included:


  • Worry about colleagues’ perception was the most common emotion of women returning to work, followed by excitement about taking up their job again.

  • Most women said they returned to work because they needed the money, with 42 percent having returned to work early due to the recession.

  • 53 percent of respondents felt employers discriminated more against working mums due to the recession with 18 percent saying they had been made redundant due to being a mum, being pregnant or being on maternity leave.

  • Despite the importance women placed on flexible working, 44 percent of women on maternity leave had not discussed flexible working with their employer.

  • Only 53 percent of those who worked part time worked their hours with 12 percent doing six to eight hours extra a week. 73 percent of working mums log on after work hours to check emails, 50 percent do so regularly.



Gillian Nissim, founder of, said: “It is interesting to note how few partners of working mums work flexibly. This may be for all sorts of reasons, but it reinforces traditional divides between men and women both at home and in the workplace and leads to the stresses associated with women effectively doing a double shift. The more progressive employers are proactive in supporting dads who want to work flexibly and play a greater role in their family life. They recognise that greater equality in the home is tied to greater equality in the workplace. As flexible working becomes more normalised and accepted as a benefit for both workers and businesses it is to be hoped that it will become harder for employers to discriminate against women and easier for women to progress in their careers.”
Sigrid Daniel, UK Country Director for, said: “The need for flexible, affordable childcare continues to be the driving force for mothers joining or returning to the workforce. This data makes it clear that there is room for improvement in the workplace, and companies who are offering alternatives to support them both in motherhood and their careers are going to reap the rewards of the huge pool of untapped female talent available.”

* IPPR research -
For more information, contact Mandy Garner on 07789 106435 or email
About is the UK’s number one female-focused jobs and community site, with over 260,000 registered users.
Launched in the U.S. in 2007, ( is now the largest online care destination in the world with 8 million members spanning 16 countries, including the United Kingdom and Canada, as well as throughout Europe as Betreut. enables people to connect to family care services in a reliable and easy way, helping them make informed decisions in one of the most critical aspects of their lives – finding and managing quality care. In the UK, also provides tools and resources to help families make safer and more informed decisions throughout the search and hiring process, including monitored messaging, background check services, and an online safety guide. Through its US subsidiary, the Company offers an easy way for people to manage their household payroll with HomePay℠, provided by Breedlove, the nation’s largest provider of household payroll, tax and compliance services. Fortune 500 companies, educational institutions, technology companies and professional services firms also offer memberships and a comprehensive back up care service as a benefit to employees through’s Workplace Solutions program. does not employ, recommend, or endorse any caregivers or care seekers nor is it a recruitment or other agency. provides information and tools to help members make informed decisions.  However, members are solely responsible for selecting an appropriate employer or caregiver for themselves or their family, and employers are solely responsible for obtaining and reviewing any necessary DBS, CRB or other identity, verification, background, or reference checks before hiring a caregiver and for verifying the age of the caregiver they select, as well as that caregiver's eligibility to work in the UK.




Notes to editors:
98% of respondents to the survey were women; 31% are aged between 25 – 34 years old, 49% are between 35-44 years old, and 21% are either below 24 or above 45.
60% have at least 2 children; 45% have at least one child under 5, 39% have at least one child over 5 and under 16.
The most common individual earning bracket is between £10k and £20k per year in their last job (28%) with 29% earning under £10k. 24% earned between £20k and £30k per year and 22% earned above £30k per year.
69% have more than 10 years’ work experience, with 44% having more than 15 years’ experience and 34% are management level or above, with 30% having had more than 5 years management experience.

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