Activity: Talk or presentation types › Invited talk
Childcare services have been the object of significant reforms in recent years aimed at addressing issues of child poverty, labour market unbalances and demographic ageing of populations. In particular, the presence of strong inequalities in the time men and women spend performing childcare tasks represents an obstacle to women’s labour market outcomes, as shown by persisting inequalities in working hours, wages, occupations and career advancements.
Childcare policies are an important instrument to shift the unequal gender division of labour by promoting greater employment of mothers and involvement of men in childcare. However, the extent to which particular instruments and policy designs produce these outcomes is still a highly debated issue. Drawing on comparative evidence, this presentation discusses the features of ‘optimal’ childcare policy configurations and the way they must be embedded in the broader policy, cultural and labour market context. Placing Northern Ireland within the wider European context, this presentation also aims to discuss the challenges facing this region with regard to the development of a system of childcare provision which supports women’s employment, men’s care-giving and children’s outcomes.