Tue, May 08, 2012 - Page 2 News List

Working mothers troubled by sense of guilt, poll says

By Yang Chiu-ying  /  Staff reporter

Working mother Wen yesterday talks about her own experience during a press conference in Taipei City as the Yes123 Web site releases the results of a survey on Taiwan’s working mothers.

Photo: Wang Min-wei, Taipei Times

Taiwanese working mothers seeking a balance between life and work are burdened by an overwhelming sense of guilt that they have failed to adequately tend to their children, while many also voiced a yearning to momentarily escape from their household duties, a survey released yesterday showed.

The poll, conducted by Yes123 Job Bank on the “sense of guilt of working moms,” found that 78.7 percent of respondents felt a deep sense of guilt, mainly the result of feeling they had not spent enough time with their children, taken part in their school activities, monitored their conduct and failed in their overall duties as a parent.

Thirty-seven percent of respondents said they would choose to sacrifice part of their working hours to accompany their children, as a way of assuaging their guilt, while others said they preferred taking their children for an outing during winter and summer breaks as a way of making up for lost time.

Although a substantial number of working mothers felt they had not done enough as parents, more than half complained about not having time to rest.

About 82 percent of respondents expressed the wish to run away to gain a moment of tranquility, saying only a five-day break from their family could give them adequate rest.

In general, full-time working mothers take an average two days off a month to look after their children. With only 43.4 percent saying their superiors would fully approve such leave, 82 percent of respondents expressed concern over the possibility of losing their jobs.

The survey also found that respondents felt more confident about their role as “career women” than “mothers.” Asked to rate their performance at work and at home, respondents gave an average score of 75 for their performance at work, but only 64 percent for their performance as mothers. Sixty percent of respondents also thought they would perform better at work if they were a working father, instead of a working mother.

When asked to gauge how much they think they should receive for their dedication to household duties, working mothers said about NT$35,000 in monthly pay. However, full-time mothers priced their efforts at NT$97 per hour, which is even lower than the national minimum hourly wage.

As for the most-wanted present on Mother’s Day on Sunday, about 13 percent of respondents said they wanted cash, 11.5 percent voted for a family dinner, 9.7 percent said a trip abroad, 9.6 percent hoped for a day off and 9 percent wished for some words of comfort.

Translated by Stacy Hsu, staff writer

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