Here is a reference in the Telegraph which contains the text from the CBMW blog,
- Female empowerment has contributed to the break-up of the traditional family, leaving a generation of children emotionally damaged, according to a controversial report on the state of British childhood.
I would like to make a few comments on this. First, the Keith and Amato research, which I cited yesterday, is old now and has variable methodology, and the results do not accord with the longtitudinal research I have seen since. (But I don't have time to find this right now.)
Second, the Telegraph also makes this telling comment,
- It will draw on a Unicef study published in 2007 which showed that children in Scandinavian countries appeared happier than their British counterparts despite similar levels of family separation.
- While more changes in a child’s life are associated with more negative behaviour, lone parent or stepfamily status is not necessarily associated with more negative behaviour in children.This more positive view emerges from a Canadian study investigating the impact of mothers’ employment patterns on children.This study shows that mothers’ employment status is a factor affecting children’s behavioural outcomes, but also that changes in maternal employment impacted on children. But, crucially, children in stable lone parent families or stepfamilies did better (and indeed, better than those in two parent families on several measures, when control variables are taken into account) than children who change family status, either ‘entering or exiting’ lone parent status (18).
Hence, it is perhaps useful to view change and disruptions as risk factors for children (like poverty) that have negative impacts on child outcomes. Family type per se provided it is stable, does not result in negative impacts on children.
This is similar to the issue with abortion, rates, which are consistantly much lower in countries with freer access to abortion. One of the reasons that I am concerned about the impression given by the Gender blog is because my former church, still in some sense a home church to my family, is influenced by this stuff. I have suggested in the past that CBMW hire someone to proofread the posts on their blog. It is very disappointing.
Now, finally, here is the point. The study itself did not say, "Female empowerment has contributed to the break-up of the traditional family .... ," it was the Telegraph that said that. Read the study yourself.
(I am increasingly finding that people mention studies without proper references and really just move gaily along. I have not seen anyone retract the statement that John Gottman recommends a "men need respect, women need love" model of marriage therapy. It is tiresome. )