Research conducted by Tesco’s Baby & Toddler Club found that since April 2008 the number of full-time fathers has risen from 192,000 to 342,000, which is an increase of 80 per cent. The report also found that seven in ten mothers and fathers share parental responsibilities regardless of who stays at home.
While the Metro says that changing social attitudes and the supposed emergence of the “sensitive new man” is the primary reason for this development, more emphasis needs to be placed on increased unemployment resulting from the credit crunch, which means that this is not necessarily a conscious decision for a lot of men.
These statistics have been presented in such a way as to suggest that men are fast becoming primary child carers, failing to show the number of stay-at-home mothers by comparison – specifically the percentage of homes where there is both a stay-at-home dad and a stay-at-home mum.
While these results are said to represent the dissolution of traditional gender roles in Britain, the nature of this as a report specifically analysing the role of fathers suggests that the stay-at-home dad is still considered an unusual phenomeneon.The subtext to the media coverage it has been given also suggests that men who do favour domesticity should be praised, despite the fact women have been staying at home and caring for their children for generations.
Tsk! This is why very few gender based surveys ever do anything but bolster gender stereotypes.