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Women's Health

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Women Prefer Working Outside the Home

Poll Shows Slight Preference Among Women for Working Outside the Home
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Sept. 6, 2007 -- If you were free to take a job outside the home or stay at home to take care of family and house, what would you prefer?

The Gallup Organization posed that hypothetical question to about 1,000 U.S. adults last month in a telephone poll about work.

Among women, 58% said they would prefer to work outside the home, 37% indicated that they would rather stay at home, 3% said they wanted to do both, and 2% expressed no opinion.

The percentage of women who would prefer working outside the home is slightly higher than the 54% who voiced that preference two years ago.

But there hasn't been a radical change in women's work preferences in Gallup's poll for many years. The last time that a "substantial majority of women" preferred staying at home was 1974, according to Gallup.

Gallup's poll also shows that among men, 68% preferred working outside the home. Another 29% said they would rather stay at home, 1% wanted to do both, and 2% had no opinion.

The percentage of men who say that if they could, they would rather stay at home is up from 17% a decade ago and 24% in 2001.

Having kids changed the results somewhat. Among mothers, 48% said they would rather stay home. So did 35% of dads.

The poll has a 3% margin of error.

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