Parents should not be thought of as “mothers” and “fathers”, Cherie Blair has claimed.
Instead, couples should only be considered parents who each share the duty of childcare. The wife of former Prime Minister Tony Blair made these remarks on BBC’s Newsnight programme this week.
Mrs Blair, a human rights barrister, was asked by presenter Evan Davies about the amount of time men and women spend with their children. She said:
“I think we shouldn’t be talking about mothering or fathering – we should be talking about parenting, and we should allow couples to actually be able to organise a way of bringing up their children that suits both of them.”
Mrs Blair claimed it was “very encouraging” that young men have a much more “hands-on” approach to parenting than their fathers. It was definitely a good sign that younger generations do not share the old attitude of their parents and grandparents that “real men went to work and women stayed at home, and for a man to show caring was regarded as a weakness” she added.
However, Mrs Blair did admit that “maternity leave and maternity rights are very important” as women are the ones who give birth to children and have to “physically feed the babies”.
Last month, the Office for National Statistics revealed that, on average, UK parents are spending less time with their children than they did 15 years ago. They also found that more than three quarters of children’s time with their parents is spent with the mother.