Mothers & paid work

Women with three or more children are less likely to be in paid work than mothers with one or two children, a study has found.
Official figures show 55% of women with three or more children are in paid work compared with compared with 68% of women with two or fewer children.
Anna Zhu, co-author of the Fertility and Labour Market Participation report, says it’s not surprising that women with three children or more are less likely to be involved in paid work because of their greater care responsibilities.
“But the interesting thing is we also found that even when the children have grown older there’s still an effect,” Zhu says. Zhu, of the University of NSW Social Policy Research Centre, says several things play a role in inhibiting women to re-enter paid work – a lack of confidence, atrophied skills, the challenge of finding flexible workplaces and fulfilling work without recent stints to speak of. Zhu says providing flexibility is the key to keeping women in paid work.“Most women after having children go back on a part-time basis, so flexible working conditions and providing leave when an emergency pops up are very important,” she says.
The paper found that for women aged 45-49, 81% with two or fewer children were in paid work versus 70% with three or more children.
The gap was also found for women with pre-school aged students, with 55% of women with two pre-schoolers in paid work versus 44% for three or more children. When at least one child is at school 62% of mothers with one or two children are in paid work compared with 59% of mothers of three or more children.