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Research Paper, Issue Brief

Helping America's Working Parents

What We Can Learn From Canada and Europe
  • By Janet Gornick, Marcia Meyers
November 16, 2004 |

Across the industrialized countries, nearly five decades of steady growth in female employment has radically changed life for many parents and children. One of the most striking changes in Europe, Canada, and the United States has been the increase in employment among mothers with very young children. Nearly 85 percent of American mothers employed before childbearing now return to work before their child's first birthday. Rising women's employment -- among both single and coupled women -- is an encouraging trend from the perspective of women’s economic independence. It is consistent with the promotion, particularly in the U.S., of employment as an alternative to public assistance. But it is also raising a host of new and difficult concerns. Do the large majority of parents who are now working for pay have time for both parenting and employment? And who is caring for their children when parents are at the workplace?

For the complete Working Paper -- or a concise Issue Brief, please see the attached PDF versions.