Are stay-at-home mothers a drain on the economy?

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The OECD produced a report on women’s participation that reflected what has been a government concern across the western world. Preventing women from working after having children brought some outrageous issues that turned up to level 11. The OECD had some petty headlines highlighting the gender participation in the Australian market. Unfortunately, the content headlines captured fewer views; hence, the report was quickly spun to read that stay-at-home mothers bring a drain on the Australian economy.

Those who or their partners had suggested to stay at home and raise their kids got outraged by the report suggesting that was wrong. However, rather than suggesting that, the report addressed that women with kids have several barriers to work such as long work breaks, and lack of childcare services. This hinders such women from achieving their dream careers despite their attainment in education. They also noted that increase in women’s participation to provide workforce would improve Australia’s economy.

The government’s policy seems to be a success as nearly three-quarters of women aged 25 to 64 are in the workforce compared to a third fifty years ago. Mothers aged between 25 to 35 years with young children faced personal challenges to raising their participation. Women who are dropping out of work at the 20s and early 30s find it hard to work again; this lowers the percentage of working women between ages 40 to 60. Apart from workforce, the report addressed problems that result from fewer working women. These include higher dependence, less income and less superannuation.

Things have changed since the 1980s, the number of working women in their 20s was around 70% which later fell to 55%. At the moment, the level is flat at around 75% to 77% of women from 20 to 55. The OECD report pointed out that Australia’s percentage of employed men was ranked in the middle of OECD countries, while women’s rate of employment was at the bottom third, below countries like the UK, New Zealand and Canada.
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Australia has no reason to have a less percentage of working women, so it came up with ways to place them at level with other nations. The report also identified that Australian women have the potential to engage in part-time work compared to women in other OECD nations.

The report also how looked into how women can serve the labour market on a long-term basis. It suggested that women can work for more hours by seeking childcare services, the trend shows that the issue is deeper than just raising a child while working. Paul Samuelson, an economist, highlighted that GDP would fall if a relatively high percentage of men married their partners and allowed them to stay at home.

Lack of sufficient childcare that keeps working women at home seems a major concern to economists. Culture is considered the greatest barrier to women participation in work. According to the 2014 survey by The Household, Labour and Income Dynamics, women do more of childcare and housework than men, despite the amount they earn.

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