The number of stay-at-home fathers reached a record high last year, new figures show, as families saw a rise in female breadwinners.
Jenny Garrett, the author of Rocking Your Role, a guide for women who earn the main salary in their family, welcomed the trend.
“The figures don’t surprise me. I think it’s a lot to do with the sectors that have been hit most by the current economic climate, which in the private sector were quite male dominated,” she said.
“Many men are now having to think about whether to retrain or possibly take a job that is not as highly paid, and asking whether it is worth their while if their partner is in a good job.”
However, she warned that there was still a “taboo” around female breadwinners and stay-at-home fathers.
“It’s something that’s kept quiet or treated as a bit embarrassing. We need to have more conversations about it in order for it to become more acceptable and for people to understand what makes the family unit work,” she said.
Justine Roberts, the co-founder of Mumsnet, said despite the increase in stay-at-home fathers, men were still significantly less likely than women to be the main child carer in families.
“It would be nice to think that one day it will simply be a matter of individual couples’ preferences that determines which parent downscales their career,” she said.
“For now children are still overwhelmingly seen as mothers’ responsibility and it’s women who tend to put their careers on hold to look after them, which in part explains the lack of women on boards and the gender pay gap.”