Oxford Brookes Professor authors new BBC Radio 4 Analysis programme

Professor Tina Miller

An Oxford Brookes University Professor has authored a new BBC Radio 4 programme that will explore why society still assumes that women will be the main carers, both paid and unpaid, and what can be done for the roles to be changed.

Tina Miller, who is a Professor of Sociology at Oxford Brookes, is the author of ‘Why do we assume women care?’ which will air at 8.30pm tonight on the BBC Radio 4’s Analysis programme.

The programme will examine the roles of women in caring, ranging from looking after young children to  becoming carers for sick or elderly relatives or friends. Despite men now taking a more active role in caring responsibilities, Prof Miller will discuss if there are societal factors that trap women in, and keep men out of caring roles.

Speaking about her involvement in the new programme, Prof Miller said: “It is fantastic to have this opportunity to be able to turn my expertise and research findings into a radio programme which will reach a broad and public audience.

“Caring is something that all of us in society can do, and it has been fascinating to explore this topic with BBC producer Caroline Bayley, and to bust the myths that exist in society about who should take on the role as a primary carer.”

Researching the changes in family lives 

Prof Miller approached the BBC with the idea of the programme based on findings from her academic research on changing family lives. 

Prof Miller continued: “My research has focused on the transition of family lives, in particular when people become parents, and I felt this would be a topic that would appeal to a wide range of people.

“Research has shown that both mothers and fathers want to care to the best of their ability for a new born baby, and if early caring is established then this continues as a child grows. This means where there are two parents we shouldn't assume it will always be the mother who will take the primary caring role.

“I sincerely hope that this programme can help to reach a wide audience and really engage the listeners to think about how caring takes place in our society and who does this and why. Other changes, especially in women’s lives, mean that we need to rethink who can be a carer and change how the role of caring is perceived in the future.”

Prof Miller hosts the programme, which will be available to listen here after it has aired. A repeat will be broadcast on Sunday 20 November and  it will then be released as a podcast, which you can listen to on BBC Sounds.

This is the second time that Prof Miller has worked with BBC Radio 4 for the Analysis programme. Back in June 2020, she worked on a programme titled ‘Modern Parenting’, in which Prof Miller explored changing parenting styles over recent decades.

Prof Miller has expertise in motherhood and fatherhood transitions, constructions of gender identities, masculinities, reproductive health, narratives, and qualitative research methods and ethics. She has advised  the World Health Organisation as well as UK political parties, and given evidence to the Parliamentary Women and Equalities Committee hearing on Fathers in the Workplace.

BBC Radio 4  Analysis programme was first broadcast in  1970 and its purpose is to examine the ideas and forces which shape public policy in Britain and abroad.