The viability, quality and sustainability of publicly supported early childhood education and care services is a lively issue in many countries, especially since the rights of the child imply equal access to provision for all young children. But equitable provision within childcare markets is highly problematic, as parents pay for what they can afford and parental income inequalities persist or widen.
This highly topical book presents recent, significant research from eight nations where childcare markets are the norm. It also includes research about ‘raw’ and ‘emerging’ childcare markets operating with a minimum of government intervention, mostly in low income countries or post transition economies. Childcare markets compares these childcare marketisation and regulatory processes across the political and economic systems in which they are embedded. Contributions from economists, childcare policy specialists and educationalists address the question of what constraints need to be in place if childcare markets are to deliver an equitable service.
Childcare and early years
• It is normal for three- and four-year-olds to attend some formal free
early education provision.
• Family and child characteristics are the most important factors affecting
• Parenting skills and the ‘home learning environment’ are becoming
increasingly important aspects of the evidence base.
• Targeted ‘early interventions’ in the ‘early years of childhood’ are on the
increase – especially for the most disadvantaged children.
• There is a drive towards ‘early intervention
Parents’ employment and childcare
Shirley Dex, Denise Hawkes, Heather Joshi and Kelly Ward
Since 1980, there have been very large increases in labour force
participation among mothers with pre-school children, doubling over
20 years. In 1980, 27% of mothers with a child under 5 were employed
(Martin and Roberts, 1984, Table 2.6, p 13), compared with 54% in
2001 (Labour Market Trends, 2003, p 505). Many mothers work part
time when children are young, but there have also been more mothers
working full time at this stage
In the absence of public provision, many governments rely on the market to meet childcare demand. But who are the actors shaping this market? What work do they do to marketize care? And what does it mean for how childcare is provided?
Based on an innovative theoretical framework and an in-depth study of the New Zealand childcare market, Gallagher examines the problematic growth of private, for-profit childcare. Opening the ‘black box’ of childcare markets to closer scrutiny, this book brings to light the complex political, social and economic dynamics behind childcare provisioning.
Childcare and family-friendly
This chapter reviews developments in childcare and family-friendly employment
policies. Policy discourses distinguish between parental, informal and formal
childcare; different types of formal services and different sectors (ie private or
statutory provision). Chapter Four considered how childcare policies in the UK
prior to 1997 were shaped by the division between ‘care’ and ‘education’, and
state provision was restricted to families in need (Randall, 2000). Local childcare
Childcare, life chances and
In recent years the notion of ‘life chances’ has been moving ever closer to
the centre of UK talk about social mobility and equality of opportunity.
With the Welfare and Reform Act 2016, its official status was confirmed
by the retrospective renaming of the Child Poverty Act 2010 as the Life
Chances Act 2010. As a term it has been high on political resonance but
low on definition. This chapter considers the relationship between the
‘life chances’ agenda – such as it is – and
Spanning the United Kingdom, United States and Australia, this comparative study brings maternal workers’ politicized voices to the centre of contemporary debates on childcare, work and gender.
The book illustrates how maternal workers continue to organize against low pay, exploitative working conditions and state retrenchment and provides a unique theorization of feminist divisions and solidarities.
Bringing together social reproduction with maternal studies, this is a resonating call to build a cross-sectoral, intersectional movement around childcare. Maud Perrier shows why social reproduction needs to be at the centre of a critical theory of work, care and mothering for post-pandemic times.
Gender regime, attitudes towards
childcare and actual involvement
in childcare among fathers
Going beyond the approach taken in the other chapters in this book,
which focus specifically on the Nordic countries, and in order to
better illustrate the ‘Nordicness’ of fatherhood, this chapter compares
the attitudes and behaviour among fathers in the Nordic and Southern
European regions. The reason for comparing these two regions is that
they represent two very different gender policy regimes: the Nordic
of fathers’ and mothers’ time with children ( Fisher et al, 1999 ; Gauthier et al, 2004 ; Sayer et al, 2004 ). Hands-on childcare is becoming a joint commitment of both parents, turning parents’ coordination of their childcare into a major concern.
Despite these changes, most fathers still adopt a breadwinner fathering style and prioritise employment, whereas mothers often adjust their work schedules to childcare needs ( Miller, 2011 ; Connolly et al, 2016 ). Because mothers also tend to provide longer hours of household work than fathers ( Pailhé et al, 2019
’s infection rates are mainly shaped by the two region-specific parameters of infection path and spatial distance, and the two individual-specific parameters of vulnerability and contact frequency. We extensively draw on the latter, exploring the intra- and extra-familial mechanisms fuelling contact frequency to test the potential role of regular grandparental childcare (GPC) in explaining overall infection rates. We study these relationships in Germany, combining aggregate survey data with local administrative data, and find a positive correlation between the frequency of