Childless women ‘hostile to working mums’

Telegraph (UK) 19 Sep 2007
Women who do not have children are considerably less sympathetic than men to mothers trying to juggle home and career, researchers have discovered. More than half of working mothers said childless women were less understanding of the demands facing them, says a survey of 1,500 mothers. Those surveyed said that with maternity leave lasting up to 12 months and the right to ask for flexible working, women without children perceived them as enemies to be left behind on the corporate ladder. The report paints a picture of women undermining and undercutting each other, vying for advancement and sometimes filled with resentment. Fifty five per cent of women with children under five now go out to work, compared with 25 per cent in 1975.The Working Mothers’ Report found that 52 per cent thought it easier to blame a faulty alarm clock or heavy traffic than to admit that child-care problems had made them late. The overwhelming majority — 94 per cent — said juggling home and office life had a deleterious, harmful to body and mind, effect on their career. However, only 31 per cent said the dual demands of work and family had an impact on a father’s career.Ben Black, the founder of the child-care providers The Family Care Company, which commissioned the report, said the research found that colleagues also failed to understand the pressures of juggling home and family life. “Many of the women that mothers work alongside will go on to have children and you would have expected them to be more understanding,” said Mr Black, who founded the company following the birth of his two-year-old twins. “However, there can be a lot of competition and jealousy in the workplace, and some women might see it as an advantage in their career that they do not have children and a demanding home life.”

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