There are two main purposes of Early Childcare and Education (ECEC): on the one hand they represent a part of preschool education system with special focus on early child development and education and on the other hand the availability and accessibility of good-quality childcare services has a positive impact on the female participation in labor market. That is why developed countries invest money into the availability of ECEC services.
A higher participation rate may increase gender equality, foster economic growth and help improve the sustainability of the present-day welfare state, especially in the light of an ageing population. Another argument points to the fact that childcare services might increase fertility rates by making a child less costly in terms of income and career opportunities.
On the example of two statistical indicators we are going to show the differences between the participating ProChil countries.
Employment Gender Gap
Apart from the well known gender pay gap which compares the earnings of men and women, we can also calculate and compare the gender employment gap, which is defined as the difference between the employment rates of men and women of working age (20-64). Across the EU-28, the gender employment gap was 11.6 p.p. in 2016, meaning that the proportion of men of working age in employment exceeded that of women by 11.6 p.p.
As we can see, there is big gender employment gap especially in Greece and in the Czech Republic, while the smallest employment gender gap is in Sweden.
Employment impact of parenthood on men and women
Another very important and interesting statistics is the Employment impact of parenthood on men and women. The employment impact of parenthood is measured as the difference of the employment rate of women (men) with atleast one children under the age of 6 and the employment rate of women (men) with no children, 20 – 49 years. The impact of parenthood on employment rates works in opposite directions for women and men: while women’s work rates generally decrease as the number of children raises, men’s increase. Furthermore, parenthood increases the incidence of part-time work among mothers, particularly those with a tertiary qualification.
The highest impact of parenthood on women is in the Czech Republic (-45%), Slovakia (-42%) and Hungary (-40,4%). We can see positive impact on employment of women with children in Sweden (+10,6%), Portugal (+4,7%) and Croatia (+1%).
There are several reasons for the figures beeing as they are, some of them are for example the cultural diferences in perceiving the roles of men and women in the family, the official family policy including the length of paid maternity and parental leave and their height compared to average salary, but also the accessibility of childcare, both in terms of financial and local accessability.
We will focus on some of the topics mentioned above in next articles.
Source: Eurostat 2016