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High family areas hardest hit by rising unemployment

Commuter belt areas like Meath and Kildare, which have high numbers of married households with children, are being hit the hardest by rising unemployment.

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Growing concern among women about working mums

New data suggests that there is increasing concern about the impact of working mothers on family life, according to a new survey by Cambridge University.

The study, which compared results of social attitude polls from the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, showed that, in 1998, 51% of women and 45.9% of men believed family life would not suffer if a woman went to work.

But by 2002, this number had fallen to 46% of women and 42% of men. The study, which examines surveys of between 1,000 and 5,000 people, was conducted by Professor Jacqueline Scott from the university's Department of Sociology.

The number of women who felt that the best way for them to be independent was to be in paid employment fell from 60 per cent in 1994 to 54 per cent in 2002. There has been an increase in the number of men who believe that preschool children will have problems if their mothers work, according to the research.

Professor Scott used recent data from the International Social Survey Programme and older polls.

She said the idea that support was steadily growing for women taking an equal role in the workplace, rather than their traditional role in the home was "clearly a myth".

She added: "Instead, there is clear evidence that women's changing role is viewed as having costs both for the woman and the family.

"It is conceivable that opinions are shifting as the shine of the 'super-mum' syndrome wears off, and the idea of women juggling high-powered careers while also baking cookies and reading bedtime stories is increasingly seen to be unrealisable by ordinary mortals."

Professor Scott suggested that women have second thoughts about going back to work based on fears about how that would impact on their children's welfare.

However, the study also showed the numbers of people who believed it was the man's role to work and the wife's to look after the children had fallen.

In 1984, 59.2% of women and 65.5% of men believed that was the case, compared to 31.1% of women and 41.1% of men in 2002.

The survey focuses on results from Britain, the US and, because the earlier surveys pre-dated the fall of the Berlin Wall, the former Federal Republic of Germany.

In the US the percentage of people arguing that family life does not suffer if a woman works has plummeted, from 51% in 1994 to 38% in 2002. About the same number of West Germans (37%) agree; but the number there has risen, having been just 24% in the mid-1990s.

An Australian survey in March showed that a fifth of families say the high cost of child care has stopped them from having more children. Two-thirds of Australians would prefer to stay at home to look after their children if they could afford to.

An Irish Times poll last year revealed that almost half (42 per cent) of women work outside the home work because of economic necessity, and not choice.


Surrogate baby set to become orphan after commissioning couple splits up

A ‘test tube baby’ in India may become the world's first surrogate orphan after the Japanese couple who were to adopt her split up.

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Average age of women giving birth rising, according to figures

For the first time ever more children are being born to Irish women in their late thirties than to women in their late twenties as mothers-to-be are leaving raising a family until later than ever.

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“Lads’ mags” help cause marital breakdown, says leading Tory

"Lads’ mags" are encouraging young men to look at women as sex objects, and their publishers should be held to account for this, according to a leading Conservative politician.

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RTE settles case over broadcast bias

RTÉ has settled its High Court action against the Broadcasting Complaints Commission over its decision upholding a complaint about the use of a graphic featuring a clerical collar, rosary beads and Bible in relation to a TV news item about the Ferns report into child sexual abuse by Catholic priests.

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Turkey's ruling pro-Islamic party narrowly escapes ban

Turkey's Constitutional Court has cut in half the State funding for the ruling AK Party, but has stepped back from banning it. The party, which won a decisive victory at the polls last year, had been accused of undermining the country's very restrictive secular system.

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RTE challenging religious symbol ruling

RTÉ is to challenge a ruling by the Broadcasting Complaints Commission (BCC) over a successful complaint made by a viewer against the use by the station of a religious symbol in a report on the findings of the Ferns inquiry into clerical child abuse. The station has begun High Court proceedings against the BCC.

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Government to push for “support for families”, says Hanafin

The Government is looking to institute policies which will “support the family”, according to the Minister for Social and Family Affairs, Mary Hanafin. In an interview with the Sunday Independent, Minister Hanafin said that the Government had “the responsibility of supporting family”.

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Loss of religion behind social problems, says Rabbi

Nearly all of the social problems facing Britain stem from a loss of religion, the Chief Rabbi told Anglican bishops last night.

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Sikh girl wins right to wear religious bangle

A Sikh girl in the UK has won the right to wear a religious bangle at school after the High Court found in her favour in a landmark ruling which could impact on schools across the country.

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Irish government policy should not favour marriage, says UN committee

Ireland's laws should no longer favour marriage over other family forms, but instead treat all “non-traditional forms of partnership” equally, according to the UN Human Rights Committee. The Committee spoke to various representatives of the Irish Government last about the State's human rights record.

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Almost half IVF doctors believe smokers and the obese should not get treatment: poll

Nearly 50 per cent of fertility experts believe that IVF treatment should not be offered to smokers or obese people, according to a new survey. The poll of international experts, most of whom work in the UK, found that only 29 per cent of such experts felt that IVF should be offered to all.

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Growing unemployment could lead to more divorce, says Legal Aid Board

The Legal Aid Board (LAB) has predicted that growing unemployment could result in more couples seeking State assistance to separate and divorce.

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UK policeman claims harassment over faith

Graham Cogman, a UK constable of 15 years standing, has taken a case against Norfolk Police on foot of claims he was victimised for refusing to wear a pink ribbon on his uniform to mark a "gay pride" event. Mr Cogman has also questioned the force's stance towards homosexuals.

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Call for married couples to be permitted to give children up for adoption

The Crisis Pregnancy Agency (CPA) has told the Oireachtas Committee on the Constitutional Amendment on Children that married couples “facing crisis pregnancy” should be allowed to place their child for adoption.

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Study shows demand for non-denominational secondary schools

Educate Together, which provides non denominational primary school education, will step up its campaign to establish schools at second level, after a study which showed strong parental support for greater school choice.

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California Supreme Court allows referendum on preserving marriage

The US state of California will get to vote in November on a state constitutional amendment aimed at banning same-sex marriage, the state Supreme Court decided last week. In a unanimous ruling, without comment, the court dismissed a lawsuit by gay-rights advocates seeking to remove an initiative sponsored by pro-marriage groups from the Nov. 4 ballot.

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Majority of children of British-born mothers born out of wedlock

New figures announced this month have revealed that half the children of British-born mothers are being born outside marriage. The figures, published by the UK's Office for National Statistics also suggest that only a minority of children of long-standing British parents will grow up with a married mother and father.

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Cameron backs Obama on black fathers

Tory leader David Cameron has echoed the sentiments of US Democratic Presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama in calling for black fathers to get more involved with their children.

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"The child...shall have the right from birth to a name, the right to acquire a nationality and, as far as possible, the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents."

Article 7. UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.