It turns out that getting good quality childcare is critical in allowing mothers to work. This time, policy makers might just get around to believing it; the claim is based on a paper prepared by the Australian Treasury.
Well, that’s a no-brainer result. It seems perfectly consistent with my own experience, and with the reported experience of women in my family, and my friends.
It’s not just childcare for littlies that matters either. Good school holiday care makes a big difference to me. As you may know, I do adjunct work at local universities (just take all the problems associated with adjunct work as read – I find it too exhausting to think about the difficulties). One of the big problems for me is school holiday care. I need to make special arrangements with my partner, my friends, my mother (bless her!) to cover the two or three hours here or there that comprise my teaching work. Not enough work to justify the expense and hassle of taking the children to a whole day school holiday programme, but far too long to leave them kicking their heels outside the classroom door, or in the classroom reading a book. I’ve yet to find a university that provides school holiday care for permanent staff, let alone adjunct staff, despite all their fine words about gender equity and work life balance and being an employer of choice for women.
Yes, yes, I have my grump on. I’ve just been running up against the gap between ideals and reality in the last week or so.