Nearly half of working mothers would prefer to stay at home with their children if it was not for money worries, a report has said.
Mothers see themselves as 'equal but different', the report says
The survey, by the Centre for Policy Studies think tank, said fewer than one in five mothers thought their job was central to their identities, compared with more than 50% of men.
In the report, Choosing To Be Different: Women, Work And The Family, author Jill Kirby said: "Women today have no difficulty in regarding themselves as equal with men, but they do not consider themselves the same.
"In particular, on becoming mothers, only a small percentage of women remain
centred on their careers."
"The majority choose a more home-centred pattern of work, either by reducing their working hours, transferring to part-time work or leaving the job market entirely.
"Large numbers of mothers who remain in work due to financial pressure continue to express a clear preference for more time at home."
Ms Kirby's report criticised the government for basing many of its employment and welfare policies on the "assumption... women have the same life goals as men".
She said: "The evidence is clear: men and women are not interchangeable. Men remain
much more likely than women to be work-centred and committed to breadwinning."
The report drew on research by Dr Catherine Hakim, from the London School of
Economics, to say 41% of women who said they would prefer to stay at
home were in fact working because of "economic necessity".
The report singled out tax credits for criticism, arguing that they were unfairly weighted in favour of working families.
Child Tax Credit entitles a family with two children, and an annual income of £25,000, to £545 in credits.
If the same family used registered daycare they would also be entitled to
Childcare Tax Credit of £7,030, the report said.