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The Progressive Policy Think Tank

8 out of 10 parents want to work less and childcare more

8 out of 10 parents want to work less and childcare more

Seven out of ten (70%) people in the UK say couples should split childcare and parenting duties equally, according to new polling conducted by Opinium and published by the think tank IPPR ahead of Valentine's Day.

Eight out of ten (80%) working couples with children under 18 say that, if money was no object, they would like to, or would like their partner to, reduce their working hours to look after their children.

More men (46%) than women (30%) say 'having a secure job' is something they feel they need before starting a family.

More women (48%) than men (39%) say 'a woman who wants to reach the top of her field will do so regardless of whether she has children or not'. Younger people (18-34s) are far less likely to agree (36%) compared to older (55+) people (52%).

More women (50%) than men (43%) say culture and stereotyping are the biggest cause of the gender pay gap, while more women (33%) also say lack of flexible work opportunities are the biggest cause, compared to men (22%).

Dr Dalia Ben-Galim, IPPR Associate Director, said:

"Valentine's Day is all about romance but the reality of family life is often a difficult balancing act of time, money, work and fun. This new polling shows that most couples want to share childcare responsibilities but we know that the reality is very different. Mums are still more likely to be the primary carer, while dads work long hours and a persistent 'motherhood pay penalty' means that mothers are financially disadvantaged at work. More affordable childcare and greater availability of flexible work could bridge the gap between aspiration and reality."

Notes to Editors

The raw data from Opinium's polling will be available from Thursday 12 February from

Opinium interviewed a sample of 2,005 people online between 3-5 February 2015. Results have been weighted to nationally representative criteria.


Sofie Jenkinson, 07981 023 031,

Richard Darlington, 07525 481602,