A woman’s work

It looks as if ministers will have their work cut out for them if they want to get more women into the labour market, and make those who already have a job work longer hours.

The figures published in today’s Volkskrant show there is only a marginal difference between the number of hours worked by childless women and those who have more mouths to feed.
And the three-hour gap will be easily filled by making packed lunches, testing little Freddy’s knowledge of Dutch rivers and folding up the washing – all those non-paid chores that also come with mother- and fatherhood.
It is wishful thinking to believe that providing after-school care is going to make women work those extra few hours – especially when much of what they earn will go towards paying the bill.
Part-time work is the norm in the Netherlands. More and more fathers are also reducing their hours – the daddy day is a well-established phenomenon.
There are, of course, many other untapped labour pools the government could be focusing on to reduce the shortage of workers.
Compared with other European countries, relatively few Dutch people over the age of 55 are still working. That’s where the government should be really be putting in the effort. And they don’t need childcare either.

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