Women and work

Women and work

Do attitudes reflect policy shifts?

This chapter examines whether the recent introduction of policies to improve the representation and progression of women in the labour market and facilitate a more equitable sharing of childcare between parents reflect, or have influenced, people’s attitudes and behaviour. While the introduction of Shared Parental Leave and the extension of the right to request flexible working are in tune with people’s attitudes, views about the gender pay gap are more mixed. Levels of awareness of and support for these policies vary, with the views of women being more closely aligned with the aims of these policies, than those of men. Those in lower socio-economic groups are less supportive of sharing parental leave, less aware of and comfortable asking about flexible working, but also are most opposed to the existence of a gender pay gap.


The principle of sharing parental leave, in some configuration, is well supported. Since 2012 people’s preferences have shifted towards shared leave arrangements, as opposed to leave being taken solely or predominantly by the mother.

Views on how paid leave following the birth of a child should be divided between the mother and the father, 2012 and 2018


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