Austrian men tend to be ‘critical of working mothers’

Austrian men tend to be 'critical of working mothers'
Attitudes are less conservative than in the 1950s. Photo: German Bundesarchiv
42 percent of under 45-year-olds in Austria are critical of mothers with small children who have a job, and believe “a preschooler suffers if his or her mother works”.

That’s according to a new survey on attitudes to gender carried out in 16 countries. Hungarians are particularly critical of working mothers, and the most acceptance was found in Estonia and Norway.

Researchers Isabella Buber-Ennser (from the Vienna Institute of Demography) and Ralina Panova surveyed more than 80,000 people aged 45 and under in 14 European countries as well as in Australia and Japan for their study on ‘Attitudes towards Parental Employment’.

In Hungary, four out of five respondents (80 percent) said they believe young children suffer if their mothers work. 72 percent of Georgians were of the same opinion, and 64 percent of Russians. Austria holds a medium position on the scale of critical/accepting – with a similar score to Australia and Romania (both 45 percent), the Czech Republic and France (both 41 percent).

In almost all countries, men were more critical of working mothers than women were. This gender gap was particularly noticeable in Austria and Norway – with men holding more traditional views than women.

People tended to hold less conservative views about working mothers in Belgium (29 percent), Japan (24 percent), Estonia (18 percent) and Norway (11 percent).
The researchers noted that the “homemaker/breadwinner” family model is still dominant in Austria and western Germany but is slowly changing. Among post-communist countries, individuals in Moldavia, Hungary, Lithuania, Bulgaria and Russia have more conservative gender role views, whereas those in the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine are more liberal.