Why are only 29% of working mothers in the East of England coming home with the main income?

The report by the IPPR thinktank, Whos breadwinning in Europe, shows that one third (33%) of Britai

The report by the IPPR thinktank, Whos breadwinning in Europe, shows that one third (33%) of Britains working mothers earn at least half of their household income. - Credit: Archant

Working mothers in the East of England are some of the least likely in the UK to be the breadwinners in their households, a new report reveals.

A feminist campaigner has said this could be because the top employers in Suffolk and Norfolk are within male-dominated industries - mainly construction, agriculture and port services.

The report by the IPPR thinktank, Who’s breadwinning in Europe, shows that one third (33%) of Britain’s working mothers earn at least half of their household income. The number of maternal breadwinners has risen by 23% since analysis began in 1996.

However, the data reveals that only 29% of mothers in the East of England are the main earners in their homes - the second lowest region in Great Britain.

Helen Taylor, founder of Suffolk Feminist Society, said: “I think it’s mainly to do with the type of industry we have here, most commonly it’s farming, construction and port service, which are all industries that typically have a male workforce.”


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Ms Taylor said another factor could be that Suffolk and Norfolk were quite rural counties, meaning job opportunities were less frequent and the public transport network was not as robust, reliable or affordable as big cities.

“When someone in a rural area is travelling to a town or city to work you then have to add on that time to your working day,” Ms Taylor added. “I know when my children were younger I really begrudged having to add travel time on top of that time you are already spending away from your children at work.”

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IPPR found that just over half of maternal breadwinners were in couple households, with 44% being single parents.

The report has made a number of policy recommendations in response to the findings, one of which is for greater availability of affordable, high-quality child care.

Ms Taylor said parents in the region had been impacted by the loss of a number of sure start services, breakfast clubs and after school clubs.

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