Girls ‘still brought up to put raising children before own ambitions’

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A GENERATION of girls are still being brought up to believe raising children is more important than their own ambitions, a leading headmistress has warned.

There is still a long way to go before there is total equality when it comes to childcare, according to Hilary French, the new president of the Girls’ Schools’ Association.

“We are still creating a generation of girls who think the whole idea of looking after children is really the most important thing, once you have a child,” she said.

Choosing whether to stay at home or go out to work is an “ethical, moral argument” and a “very personal decision”, she said.

But she added: “What’s maybe less personal, and maybe more incumbent on us as leaders in girls’ schools, is to try and get girls to see that it is a decision and there are options, and it’s not wrong, and that’s where society needs to come into play as well.

Mrs French said it is “probably still the assumption” that women will deal with childcare.

She said: “There has been an increase in the number of house-husbands, but the very fact it is still newsworthy means it’s not accepted as the norm. I think there’s a long way to go before there’s total equality in that area.”

Mrs French said while men were still often seen as the ones that would go to work and have a career, she was also “quite struck” that today’s young men were “very caring and do want to have children”.

But she added: “We do still expect women to be at the core of the relationship, the homemaker, the person who brings up children and thinks about what everyone’s going to eat every day.

“It’s still, I think, unusual to find a man doing that.”