Provision in the French-speaking part of Switzerland is more widespread than in the German-speaking part of the country. This provision strengthens gender equality. This is the conclusion of a study conducted in the scope of the National Research Programme “Gender Equality” (NRP 60).
Many European countries are currently expanding childcare provision for preschool and school-age children: nurseries, crèches, school-based daycare, lunch clubs and other forms of formal childcare. The objective is to provide mothers with greater opportunity to work outside the home at higher employment levels and to achieve greater equality in the employment levels of mothers and fathers. While 77% of mothers of children under 15 in Switzerland work, most of them are in part-time positions. In contrast, the majority of fathers are in full-time work (89%).
But does childcare actually have any impact on the employment situation of fathers and mothers? This was the question investigated by the Infras research agency and consultancy, together with the Swiss Institute for Empirical Economic Research at the University of St. Gallen, in a project under the auspices of the National Research Programme “Gender Equality” (NRP 60).
The best availability of childcare in Switzerland can be found in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, the canton of Basel-Stadt, and around the cities of Zurich and Zug. The worst availability is to be found in the central and eastern regions. Neuchâtel, Geneva and Basel-Stadt offer the greatest provision, at over 20% for preschool children; provision for school-age children in Geneva and Basel-Stadt is at 43% and 26%, respectively. The least well developed provision for preschool children is to be found in Appenzell Innerrhoden, Uri and Graubünden, whilst for children of school age the cantons of St. Gallen, Uri and Graubünden are the worst. The level of provision in these cantons is between 1% and 3%.Reduced levels of paternal employment
The researchers conclude from this data that childcare has a positive ef-fect on gender equality. The reason is that mothers in full-time employment have greater career opportunities than those who work part time: they are able to develop their professional skills and improve their opportunities in the job market, approaching equality with those of men. If fathers reduce their working hours, this will improve the distribution of paid and domestic work, which will also have a positive influence on working mothers’ career opportunities.Contact
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