Women In Paid Employment – The Care Factor

Suzy Morrissey

Abstract


63.7% of women are now in some form of paid employment in New Zealand, which is in line with the OECD average of 65%. However, of those women, approximately a third in part-time paid employment and women make up over two-thirds of all part-time workers.


One of the most cited reasons for women’s limited participation in, or absence from, the labour market is the cost and availability of childcare. In New Zealand, as in many other countries, mothers still undertake the vast majority of care for children. This paper examines the childcare situation in New Zealand. Taking a broad perspective of what is captured by the term ‘childcare’, it outlines the various types of government support currently provided to children up to age 13, and summarises the total cost of funding.


The purpose of the paper is to collate information about the range of services provided by the government which incorporate an element of care. This information can be analysed by academics and policy makers to determine whether the services currently provided are efficient and effective, and meets the needs of parents.


The paper also raises two issues for further consideration, which it does not address itself. Firstly, the various mechanisms for government support, in terms of demand-led and supply-side funding, and whether they should be targeted or universal. Secondly, the types of childcare which are not government funded – the informal childcare provided by family, particularly grandparents and older siblings, and friends. These areas may be of relevant future research, particularly if change to the current situation is desired.


Keywords


Women; paid employment; childcare

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