Report: The Other Glass Ceiling: The Domestic Politics of Parenting

 The Other Glass Ceiling: The Domestic Politics of Parenting
 Hannah Green and Sophia Parker Demos,
 ISBN: 1841801585,


This short, well-organised report focuses on the “quiet revolution”; the subtle changes in family life behind closed doors as a result of changes in employment patterns, writes Anthony Douglas.

The authors argue that men and women as parents are fast becoming an increasingly workaholic-force, unsupported by the state and investing a lot in bringing up the next generation of economically active children for our country – the “public value of parenting”. Work-life imbalance is rife, with little help from most employers.

Partially removing the barrier women face with their own careers has led to another set of glass ceilings: the barrier in society to stable and positive family life.

The recommendations flow from the analysis. Family life vouchers should replace child care vouchers, the authors argue.

In this way they would mirror direct payments and families could outsource those aspects of their children’s care they wished to.

A limitation of the report is the absence of the voices of children as the direct recipients of their parents’ right to choose.

Some of this short book is instantly forgettable, such as the section on short-life reality TV shows like Wife Swap, but the bulk is stimulating and accessible, and will get policy-makers thinking.

Anthony Douglas is chief executive of Cafcass and chair of British Association for Adoption and Fostering

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