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The pursuit of gender equality: An uphill battle

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Publication Date: 
4 Oct 2017


The pursuit of gender equality: An uphill battle presents a stark call to action, highlighting that very little progress has been made since the 2012 OECD report Closing the gender gap now.

Below are the key findings from chapter 16 - A good start for equal parenting: Paid parental leave and chapter 17 - Childcare supports: Helping bot parents in paid work.

Chapter 16

A good start for equal parenting: Paid parental leave

Key findings

  • All OECD countries other than the United States have national schemes that provide mothers with a statutory right to paid leave. On the whole, this is good for maternal and child health and for female labour market outcomes.
  • Fathers' leave-taking is beneficial for fathers, mothers, and children. However, while it is not unusual for fathers to take leave for a few days around childbirth, their use of parental leave remains low.
  • To encourage fathers' use of parental leave, an increasing number of countries now reserve part of the leave period for fathers or offer leave that provides fathers with strong incentives to use leave for a few months or more.

Chapter 17

Childcare supports: Helping bot parents in paid work

Key findings

  • Participation in early childhood education and care (ECEC) not only varies across OECD countries but also within countries across socio-economic groups. In many OECD countries, children from poorer families are far less likely to be found using formal ECEC than their better-off peers.
  • Despite public support, ECEC often remains expensive for parents. In some OECD countries, a single parent with two children earning two-thirds of the average wage can spend nearly half their disposable income on formal childcare.
  • Participation in out-of-school-hours care by school-age children remains low in many OECD countries. This increases the difficulty of full-time work for parents with school-age children, and may help explain why many mothers in OECD countries continue to work on part-time even as their children grow up.
Entered Date: 
4 Oct 2017
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