Cherie Blair (pictured) has attacked stay-at-home mothers, warning that it was 'dangerous' for women to rely on their husbands and set an example of dependency for their children.
Mrs Blair criticised women who, she alleged, marry rich men in order to quit work and put their energies into raising children, reports The Daily Mail.
The wife of former Labour prime minister Tony Blair also declared women should be 'self-sufficient' in case their partner leaves them or dies. Her comments came at a Fortune Most Powerful event which featured prominent women leaders in business, government, media, philanthropy and the arts.
Mrs Blair told the audience: 'One of the things that worries me now is you see young women who say, “I look at the sacrifices that women have made and I think why do I need to bother, why can't I just marry a rich husband and retire?” and you think, how can they even imagine that is the way to fulfil yourself, how dangerous it is.
'In my case I saw my mother abandoned by my father when I was eight – but even good men could have an accident or die and you're left holding the baby…'
Mrs Blair went on to suggest that children who are brought up by working mothers are more likely to be independent. She said: 'Every woman needs to be self-sufficient and in that way you really don't have a choice – for your own satisfaction; you hear these yummy mummies talk about being the best possible mother and they put all their effort into their children.
'I also want to be the best possible mother, but I know that my job as a mother includes bringing my children up so actually they can live without me.'
Mrs Blair also backed quotas for women on the boards of businesses saying that firms needed a 'kick up the pants'.
'Whether you call it a target or a quota, what you are actually talking about is better diversity and getting more women on to the boards of businesses,' she said. Charlotte Vere, founder of the campaign group Women On, criticised Mrs Blair for 'bullying' women who chose to stay at home with their children.
She said: 'On one hand, Cherie Blair backs quotas for women, reinforcing the ridiculous idea that women can't get to the top on merit. On the other, millionaire Cherie claims that stay-at-home mums must go out to work to feel “satisfied”.
Supporters of stay-at-home moms pointed to a study conducted this year that values a stay-at-home mother’s work at nearly $113,000 each per year.
In a survey of thousands of stay-at-home moms, Salary.com came up with $112,962 as the right compensation for the domestic daily chores - considering the market rate for the hours worked as cooks, teachers, child psychologists, drivers and chief executives.
Pro-family advocates have point to the abundant research available on the beneficial effect of a parent staying home to raise their children that contradicts Mrs. Blair’s assertions.
Brian Rushfeldt, Executive Director of the Canada Family Action Coalition, has cited evidence showing “that when a parent stays home with a child there’s much more likelihood the child will be better adjusted and also less likely, as evidence shows, of getting into crime or drugs or sex issues. … Parents do a better job of raising their children than somebody else can.”