Many working women lose their income after having children. However, this is not necessarily due to a shortage of childcare, according to a study by the Central Planning Bureau (CPB). The decline in income appears to be mainly related to traditional views on the division of roles between men and women.
The CPB looked at the effects of childcare on income inequality on behalf of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.
More childcare places do mean that mothers’ incomes fall less sharply, but according to the CPB, the effect is only limited. A large part of the decrease in income is therefore not due to a lack of good childcare facilities.
The study looked at, among other things, the effect of the expansion of places in childcare on the income of mothers. Due to the increase in the childcare allowance, the number of places in childcare increased sharply in the period from 2006 to 2009. In municipalities where that supply increased, the fall in income of mothers was less pronounced than in municipalities where this was not the case, but that effect is therefore too small, according to the CPB, to explain why women’s incomes fall so sharply. The agency points instead to the traditional views on the division of roles that cause women to work fewer hours.
SER advised 2 days of secure childcare
At the beginning of this month, the Social and Economic Council (SER) advised that all children should be given the opportunity to go to childcare two days a week in any case. This would benefit women’s labor market participation. Childcare can also help to reduce disadvantages and to offer children more opportunities when they grow up, the SER stated. The SER also points out that the Netherlands has a notorious part-time culture in which traditional gender roles play a role.
According to the Council, simply arranging two days of childcare from the government can even ensure that views on part-time work are further strengthened. Two days of shelter can then become the norm, instead of a step. That is why the entire system of reception conditions must eventually be overhauled.
Couples with two women see more even income changes
Previous research has shown that the income of mothers seven years after the birth of their first child is on average 46 percent lower than that of comparable women without children. This is mainly due to women working fewer hours. This does not apply to men.In congregations where church attendance is higher, women’s incomes also fall faster on average.
Migration background was also examined. Mothers with a migration background in Suriname or the Netherlands Antilles continue to work more hours after having children than mothers without a migration background. Mothers with a migration background in Morocco or Turkey are more likely to stop working altogether. The differences also occur among highly educated mothers.
According to the CPB, the fall in income in the Netherlands is relatively large compared to countries such as Sweden and Denmark, but not yet as strong as in Austria and Germany. The CPB warns that less work after the birth of a child also means less economic independence. It can also have an effect on the further career and pension accrual.
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