Mothers in the New Zealand workforce


  • Sophie Flynn Statistics New Zealand
  • Magdalen Harris Statistics New Zealand



Motherhood, paid work, labour market, Household Labour Force Survey, Survey of Working Life


Motherhood is a significant factor in how women participate in paid work. Women are likely to restructure their work arrangements or withdraw from the labour market while caring for dependent children (OECD, 2011). However, women’s participation in the labour force has increased over time, in part due to more mothers remaining in and re-entering the labour market. The purpose of this paper is to look at the demographic and labour force characteristics of women in the prime parenting age group (those aged 25–49 years), in relation to their parent and partner statuses. Data from the Household Labour Force Survey and the Survey of Working Life are used to create a picture of these different groups of women over time, to identify the factors affecting a mother’s ability to participate in the labour market, and to understand how work arrangements and conditions for employed mothers differ from employed non-mothers’.


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