Josh Brown

Women in 2017 made up almost half of the labour force at 46.5 percent but still there are many more women who want to work. Over a third of stay at home mothers want to work and about a fifth of mothers who are working want to take on more hours.

What’s stopping them? 

A 2014 survey found two thirds of mothers in work say that child care costs are the main barrier that stops them working more hours, and of those not working 64 percent cite the high cost of childcare. Mothers want to work but expensive child care is holding them back. 

Who are these mothers?

It’s those on the lowest incomes who are most affected, low pay makes childcare not worth it. This may be why research by Heriot Watt university found that improved provision of child care is the most important factor in reducing inequality. It would allow parents to work more (or perhaps study for qualifications to improve their prospects). Increasing the income of the poorest households is the most effective way of reducing Income inequality. It’s in these households that women are put off work by the high cost of child care. Why not reduce inequality by providing the opportunity for these women work? It’s likely that government policy makers are looking at the microeconomic case in understanding barriers to maternal labour market participation and explicitly link their indicators (Objective 1.1) to Strategic Development Goal 5.



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