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Thread: Gender and science, why no women in IT?

  1. #1 Gender and science, why no women in IT? 
    Forum Professor Pendragon's Avatar
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    It's common knowledge that very few women choose a career in IT, and in general there are more men involved in science than women. Even on this forum there are clearly a lot more men than women. But why is this?

    Do we have cultural norms that say women shouldn't be involved in science, or is there some biological difference between the genders that makes men more willing or able to work in science? And why do women prefer social / behavioural sciences over natural sciences?
    In most countries more men than women have a professional career (partly due to gender roles in child care), but that doesnt explain the enormous differences in gender ratios in science.

    Some statistics from the EU:

    Academic staff in the EU, 2002:
    -Agricultural sciences: 1.8 times more men than women
    -Engineering and Technology: 4.2 times more men than women
    -Humanities and Arts: 1.5 times more men than women
    -Medical sciences: 1.4 times more men than women
    -Natural sciences: 2.6 times more men than women (math, physics, IT, chemistry, biology, earth/environmental science)
    -Social sciences: 1.5 times more men than women
    -Unknown: 1.3 times more men than women
    source


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  3. #2  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard SkinWalker's Avatar
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    Most likely there is an explanation that begins with early social identification by a woman's family and friends at an early age. In the same way that a 5 year old is able to quickly associate high heels, dresses, handbags, make-up and even long hair to primarily the female sex, we begin very early to classify and categorize sex-appropriate careers.

    My 5-year old expects police officers and firemen to be men and was recently surprised to learn that women serve in the military. These aren't things that I directly taught her, but we may have unintentionally by not clarifying that most sex-categories are fictive. I even had to point out that long-hair isn't a female only trait.

    I suspect that this type of learning creates a life-long mental obstacle that influences a woman's ultimate decisions to go into certain fields. And, like all social barriers, there are those determine to break them or overcome them as well as those that simply don't encounter them, explaining the women that are in scientific or other predominantly male fields.

    This is why I keep stressing to my daughter that she can be whatever she wants and I encourage her to consider that male dominated careers like the military, police, and fire department are places that women can work. I point these women out whenever I see them.


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  4. #3 Re: Gender and science, why no women in IT? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pendragon
    It's common knowledge that very few women choose a career in IT, and in general there are more men involved in science than women. Even on this forum there are clearly a lot more men than women. But why is this?

    Do we have cultural norms that say women shouldn't be involved in science, or is there some biological difference between the genders that makes men more willing or able to work in science? And why do women prefer social / behavioural sciences over natural sciences?
    In most countries more men than women have a professional career (partly due to gender roles in child care), but that doesnt explain the enormous differences in gender ratios in science.

    Some statistics from the EU:

    Academic staff in the EU, 2002:
    -Agricultural sciences: 1.8 times more men than women
    -Engineering and Technology: 4.2 times more men than women
    -Humanities and Arts: 1.5 times more men than women
    -Medical sciences: 1.4 times more men than women
    -Natural sciences: 2.6 times more men than women (math, physics, IT, chemistry, biology, earth/environmental science)
    -Social sciences: 1.5 times more men than women
    -Unknown: 1.3 times more men than women
    source
    What is the the point of academic staff? I'd estimate that a minutia of people who are in the sciences are in academia. Single figures in health, engineering and my field, geology. There are just over 3,000 geologists and 14,000 geology-related technologists and technicians in Alberta and perhaps '100' at most are in academia.

    In Canada just over half of medical students are female and about 80% of those pursuing nursing degrees are female. I'd be surprised if most in health careers in the EU are male. No nurses? Lab techs? Most of these science careers in North America are occupied by females.

    Universities in general have 53% female enrollment in Canada. I thought it was about the same in the USA bit I could be mistaken.
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  5. #4  
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    one surprising piece of stats that i learnt of recently is that the student population for veterinary science in the UK is 80% female

    as for IT : to be good at it, don't you have to be a little bit autistic to really excel ? and autism is more common in boys
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  6. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    My 5-year old expects police officers and firemen to be men and was recently surprised to learn that women serve in the military. These aren't things that I directly taught her, but we may have unintentionally by not clarifying that most sex-categories are fictive. I even had to point out that long-hair isn't a female only trait.
    Yea I guess these are unconscious processes. A century ago there were actually people who thought women were just not fit for science, or for things like the military, but except for some rural backwaters I'd be surprised to hear these things nowadays. But still people don't change their behaviour.

    Or perhaps there's still a rational explanation: hypothesis "The more often people see other people who they identify with (same gender, same etnicity, same social class) perform certain jobs succesfully, the more confident they become that they too can perform that job". People have a tendency to underestimate their ability to do things they're unfamiliar with. For example I don't know any athletes personally, not in my family and not among friends, so I'm less likely to think that I would be able to have a succesful career in athletics, while there's no objective evidence to proof this. So maybe because women rarely see other women in their surroundings perform IT jobs or jobs in the exact / natural sciences they become less confident of their own talents in those fields, so they make the rational decision to chose a job of which they have more confidence that they can perform them well.
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    Three reasons I can think of:

    1)
    Wanting a career that can easily fit around having children is a major influencing factor in what women study and what career they go into. This applies to all careers not just science/IT related.

    Women are still becoming mothers and given the hours that high business demands it is very hard to juggle both family and career to allow for a personal sense of achievement with both. Employing nanny's can lead to sense of failure re being mother etc.

    2)
    The higher up the career food chain you go the less women you will find.

    This is largely to do with men refusing to promote women to higher positions but times are changing.

    Don't forget it was not that long ago women were not allowed an education or a vote or to work. The wars changed it all, but otherwise women would still be held back by men.

    3)
    Teachers,career advisors and parents do tend to guide kids in certain directions they want or think the child should follow.

    Parents of girls may be less likely (due to old stereotypes) to allow them to consider things like engineering, accountacy, IT etc.

    I know my art teacher wanted to me to go to art college, my biology teacher wanted me to study Human science. Had someone more forcefully 'steered' me who knows where I'd have ended up.
    'Time is the space between birth and death' by me.
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    Though honestly, how many young girls consider if they're going to be able to take care of kids with their career when they choose it?

    It never crossed my mind. Not to say that I haven't thought I won't have kids some day. Sure that's crossed my mind. But I haven't let it affect my career choice.

    I don't know how much relevance your second point has for IT/science. Of course it depends on what career they go into. But basically it's whether you want to go to grad/med school and you'll get hired to pretty much where you want to be ie professor, industry, doctor.

    As for your third point, that is true. But for a student like me, I took all the sciences I possibly could in high school, aced all my science classes. Even took AP Chem. It was pretty obvious I'd go into a science.

    I suppose it also helped that my real dad was a chemical engineer and my "dad" regretted not being some sort of engineer and mom just wanted me to go to college. Though I think she wanted me to go chemistry. I never wanted to be a doctor. And I didn't want to count pills. So I've been in chemistry and I love it.

    Med school and forensic science are gaining popularity with women, I believe. I know quite a few. However there are only 2 out of 8 chemistry majors (in the school that I know) that are female that don't want to go to med school. Probably about 30 chem/biochem/mobio/bio people going to med school. In my class alone. My class is probably about 400-450

    I was kind of steered away from ChemE but my math teacher (female) was a ChemE and I know a cousin (female) is chemE. I think it was kind of a...I knew my dad was a genius, my cousin told me it was really tough, my math teacher I had huge respect for, so it was one of those things I wasn't sure I'd be able to handle. I knew I could handle chem. Again I'm very happy with chem though. And most likely I'll go to grad school for a PhD.

    Also, I have a female cousin who's in IT. She's married to a guy in IT and they have a kid. It seems to work out fine. Same with the ChemE/MechE pair. They have a kid but it works out fine.

    I partly think my family has *always* expected me to do something in the sciences. At least my dad's side. And not just that, go to grad school and everything.

    However, saying all that, that doesn't mean TOR's reasons are all wrong. I'm not exactly the norm.

    Actually I think the biggest reason out of hers is her 3rd reason. What they're guided towards. Brought up for. I was watching Bill Nye, National Geographic, etc. when I was younger. What kind of environment she's in. What she thinks she can accomplish based on peers, etc. I think 1 and 2 have little weight. And if they do it just adds to the 3rd.
    http://success.shoreline.edu/eyh/Enc...ninScience.htm
    more on this subject

    I wonder what would be stats with women between the sciences ie bio/chem/physics?
    Aha!
    check this out! Look at the undergrad section and the first line. then you'll be able to see some trends
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    Fe(male), had you been born to parents who were hairdressers I strongly doubt you'd be doing what you're doing now, but you already realise that parental connection and influence.

    Re my point 1.
    Some young women want babies before they have even left school, some for novelty value admittedly but for others it is a very powerful biological instinct. We don't all have that, but for those that do, children are indeed their main focus when considering career options as really all they want to do is be home with their future babies.

    Women will consider an employers maternity package etc, before applying for work with them. One reason why 'heath' can be appealing is their marternity package.


    Re point 2, well that's historically fact, no need to elaborate there.
    'Time is the space between birth and death' by me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Theoryofrelativity
    Fe(male), had you been born to parents who were hairdressers I strongly doubt you'd be doing what you're doing now, but you already realise that parental connection and influence.
    I agree.
    Re my point 1.
    Some young women want babies before they have even left school, some for novelty value admittedly but for others it is a very powerful biological instinct. We don't all have that, but for those that do, children are indeed their main focus when considering career options as really all they want to do is be home with their future babies.
    Sure, for some women. Not me. And sure, I have thought I'd have kids eventually. But I didn't think in high school when I was thinking about what I should study: "Hm, this won't be easy with kids. Too bad. I LOVE the subject. Let me look elsewhere and compromise my happiness for the next 9 or so years of my life in college/grad school so I can do something that will enable me to have kids in the distant future and take care of them a lot easier when I haven't had one serious relationship, period."

    9 years is a long time. When you've had relationships that have lasted <1 month, you definitely are not going to compromise 9 years of your life for some probability that you will find a guy and have kids in the future. If you live to be 90, compromising those 9 years with unhappiness, you'll have not been happy for 1/10 of your life and probably more as you'll be stuck doing something you don't like. Who wants that?

    Some women go to college to get their "Mrs. degree". My cousin did that. She didn't get married or get into law school due to lack of effort during college because she spent so much trying to find men. She's been out for 3 years now and still hasn't gotten married. She's at a job she doesn't like. She's bored, she's not making much so it's a switch from her childhood when she was handed everything. I don't want to end up like that.

    And heck, if you go into a field that's male-dominated you'll meet more guys.

    Women will consider an employers maternity package etc, before applying for work with them. One reason why 'heath' can be appealing is their marternity package.
    Sure. I'll agree with that.


    Re point 2, well that's historically fact, no need to elaborate there.
    Oh I agree with you. It's history it's fact. History doesn't determine what is happening now though. We should look forward rather than to the past.

    Perhaps we have hit on something though.

    My career choice was "mind over heart". Most women base their decisions on their heart rather than their head.

    Perhaps that's the fundamental reason why less women are in science.

    And you need to be a bit "mind over heart" for science.

    I say "fundamental" because it has more to do with *their particular personality* than their surroundings.
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    We are in agreement,

    I think I can relate a slight tad to option 1 as once for approximately 10mins when I was 18, I suddenly wanted a baby and considered (within those 10mins) some disreputable means of getting one!

    Fortunately the feeling passed.

    But it did give me an insight into some womens biology and for them it's just very very powerful urge like being totally dehydrated and needing to drink. You will seek water and think of nothing else till you have it and under no circumstances will you refuse it.

    It is really biology for some. Mind is gone......
    'Time is the space between birth and death' by me.
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  12. #11  
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    I work for a woman. She is the best in her field.

    She managed to raise a bunch of kids too.
    "Kill them all and let God sort them out."

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    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    I work for a woman. She is the best in her field.

    She managed to raise a bunch of kids too.
    she brought her kids to work with her?
    'Time is the space between birth and death' by me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Theoryofrelativity
    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    I work for a woman. She is the best in her field.

    She managed to raise a bunch of kids too.
    she brought her kids to work with her?
    No, but this is finland. Daycare is cheap and plentiful.
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    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    Quote Originally Posted by Theoryofrelativity
    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    I work for a woman. She is the best in her field.

    She managed to raise a bunch of kids too.
    she brought her kids to work with her?
    No, but this is finland. Daycare is cheap and plentiful.
    so Daycare raised her kids
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    I don't know. I never asked.

    But if a society desires to have more women in professional careers then they should build the infrastructure to support it.

    In Finland they stimilate both options. You get an extra 500€ or so per month (and child benefits on top of that) if you stay home with your child for the first three years (exact amount depends on the city where you live).

    And if you rather work then the maximum price for normal daycare is 200€ per month. But that is only with a really good salary. If you earn little you pay nothing. This daycare is heavily subsidized and of good quality and present everywhere.

    Compared to the Netherlands, Daycare is extremely expensive. And there is no extra financial support. So you end up going to work paying a large part of your salary for daycare, hoping to cross the bridge to when the children can go to school more or less in one financial piece.

    Interestingly school starts already at 4 in holland. In finland it is 7.

    However, the social structure, or should we say absence of social structure, seriously limits the freedom of women.
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    I agree if women want to work they should have support, but if they want to raise their own children and not rely on strangers to do it, then they should also have support.

    I don't think children should be cared for by strangers before the age of 3. Especially not in day care. A nanny is preferable if it is necessary at all.

    Meanwhile, my children technically began schooling in the Uk aged 3.
    Nursery (couple of hrs) per day for 5 days a week , then as in Finland, full time school age 4. I think by 3 they need this extra stimulation, though I think with regards to school, I could actually do more for them myself at home. Time will tell though.
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  18. #17  
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    sorry, it is in the netherlands that they start at 4. In finland it is 7. Although there is a preschool at 6.

    My oldest one is now 5 and he spends his days outside playing with his peers. Although it makes him a bit rebellious it is very good for his physical development and also his social development with his peers: other children.

    I feel that it is all quite 'natura'. Somehow it feels strange now to me that children should be in school at this age.

    They tremenduously enjoy being outside every day, all day. And you only have one life after all.

    sometimes some children have some problems adjusting to school at the age of 7, but it is a small sacrifice.

    What people usually do here is to bring their children to day care for one or two afternoons, or a day every week to get children used to being inside in a strange environment.

    It works quite well.
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    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    My oldest one is now 5 and he spends his days outside playing with his peers. Although it makes him a bit rebellious it is very good for his physical development and also his social development with his peers: other children.

    I feel that it is all quite 'natura'. Somehow it feels strange now to me that children should be in school at this age.
    Depends on how you define 'school' :wink: Your child of 5 wouldn't do much else than playing if he were in Holland, toddler school is really like a kind of daycare. I remember baking bread, drawing, making music, and ofcourse just running around much of the day like every little kid :wink:

    I agree that daycare is important, and it should be cheap enough to make working for mothers financially attractive. Such measures pay their own costs, more working women means more national income. At the moment the Dutch government is working hard to improve the situation (it's correct that daycare is very expensive here, and there's lack of capacity), they'll have to. We can't afford not-working women when population aging kicks in, in a couple years.
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    I agree that daycare is important, and it should be cheap enough to make working for mothers financially attractive. Such measures pay their own costs, more working women means more national income. At the moment the Dutch government is working hard to improve the situation (it's correct that daycare is very expensive here, and there's lack of capacity), they'll have to. We can't afford not-working women when population aging kicks in, in a couple years.
    If this really made economic sense, you would find that the women would get a job, pay for the daycare out of their own salary, and put the rest in the bank. What you will end up with, with your govt program, is women going to work at a salary less than the cost of the daycare, because the daycare is free (to them). Now, if you feel the need to provide govt daycare for reasons of political correctness, then go ahead.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    I agree that daycare is important, and it should be cheap enough to make working for mothers financially attractive. Such measures pay their own costs, more working women means more national income. At the moment the Dutch government is working hard to improve the situation (it's correct that daycare is very expensive here, and there's lack of capacity), they'll have to. We can't afford not-working women when population aging kicks in, in a couple years.
    If this really made economic sense, you would find that the women would get a job, pay for the daycare out of their own salary, and put the rest in the bank. What you will end up with, with your govt program, is women going to work at a salary less than the cost of the daycare, because the daycare is free (to them). Now, if you feel the need to provide govt daycare for reasons of political correctness, then go ahead.
    umm - isn't that kind of making the assumption that a woman is only working to pay for daycare? there are plenty of other reasons why a woman will still want to earn a high paying job even if daycare is free. Besides, you really only need full time daycare for a few years until they're old enough to go to school. By your logic, women with school age children in countries without govt daycare should also work at a much lower salary, since sending kids to public school is free, and though I definitely don't know any statistics, somehow I feel that isn't quite the case.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    If this really made economic sense, you would find that the women would get a job, pay for the daycare out of their own salary, and put the rest in the bank. What you will end up with, with your govt program, is women going to work at a salary less than the cost of the daycare, because the daycare is free (to them). Now, if you feel the need to provide govt daycare for reasons of political correctness, then go ahead.
    The government is a representation of the people. The excellent daycare (and night care if you have a night job) system in finland is in place because the people care about each other. Accessible cheap and good daycare gives options. Many women decide to study again for instance to improve their situation. That's feasible because education is for free, they get student benefits, and they can put their children in daycare.

    This gives social flexibility for all. Not just the ones born rich.
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    Quote Originally Posted by paralith
    umm - isn't that kind of making the assumption that a woman is only working to pay for daycare? there are plenty of other reasons why a woman will still want to earn a high paying job even if daycare is free. Besides, you really only need full time daycare for a few years until they're old enough to go to school. By your logic, women with school age children in countries without govt daycare should also work at a much lower salary, since sending kids to public school is free, and though I definitely don't know any statistics, somehow I feel that isn't quite the case.
    First, we can make this more gender neutral by observing that sometimes it is the wife who has the higher earning potential and the husband stays home with the kids.

    Don't be silly, of course nobody will work for lesser salary because they are getting free daycare. What will happen is that some people who cannot really afford daycare now will go and get a job because the daycare is "free." These will be the new daycare users, not those who can make enough to pay for it now.

    The other effect will be that people like TOR, who can probably make more than the daycare cost but think it's important to stay home with their kids, will be subsidizing others through their tax dollars.

    Naturally, you will think this is fair if you believe government money grows on trees, rather than coming out of someone else's pocket.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pendragon
    Depends on how you define 'school' :wink: Your child of 5 wouldn't do much else than playing if he were in Holland, toddler school is really like a kind of daycare. I remember baking bread, drawing, making music, and ofcourse just running around much of the day like every little kid :wink:
    .

    The nursery my kids go to follows the 'national curriculum', they have targetted lessons every day, They are taught numeracy and writing from 3. They learn about other cultures too and many things all of which are planned carefully ahead. There is a lot of play too, but it is specifically designed to assist learning. The one mine go to can only be described as child heaven. There are only 7 like it in the entire county so I'm lucky to have one so near.

    Age 4 they are in school and have lessons as they would at any other age with breaks for play 3 times (one of those is lunchtime). They even have IT lessons. Sophie age 5 is learning about Queen Victoria and tomorrow has visit to fire station to learn about that. She has a new reading book every day to read at home and has to practice spelling and writing for home work.

    I take them to a farm every week and sometimes to the safari where they can interact with animals and run amok , lots of excellent climbing frames and adventure playgrounds. They are learning balance and losing fear of heights, can scale net walls, you name it.

    They've had swimming lessons, karate,dance,football, though presently now in school just one class after school and I play footie with my 3yr old every day outdoors. He has great ball skills and me too now!


    NOW

    What I am about to demonstrate is HOW important raising my kids msyelf really is to me.


    Prior to having kids my salary was £32,000 pa, ie $64,000 pa.

    After giving birth I then worked from home for first 2 years during which time I had second baby. So I had two children under age 2 and was working 20hrs a week. I HAD no day care/nanny/family/friend/partner help.....zero zip nada. Did it 100% myself and I would not have it any other way.

    NOW, I am on an income (single mum ) half of what I was before but still my kids (as detailed above) go without nothing and infact I believe have a better quality of life than most rich kids! I have time for my kids whereas career parents may not.

    I am very careful with my money as every penny of my income is accounted for. EVERY penny.

    When both chidlren are in full time education( one year from now) I will need a job that will fit around their school holidays as I want to be with them and I want to do school runs myself. I want to remain a FULL TIME mum. So I can only really get a job in a school. If that job is as a bloody cleaner on minimum wage I will do it as being a 'present' parent is more important to me.

    Hopefully it will not come to that and I am working towards an alternative that can mean I can remain working from home and earn a slightly better wage.

    I didn't go to work for 16yrs so someone else could raise my children. If daycare was free, I would still do it myself. 'Mother' is the most important job. If some women feel unable to cope or can't manage financially then they need options but mothers like me need options to and we need help to remain mothers.


    speech over chaps

    ps. I have recently been approached to run some adult classes at the school. I am thinking this is voluntary (not paid) but I am hoping it will lead to something else. They may be basic IT classes, so that's kind of a female in IT...lol, but not very high up the food chain.
    'Time is the space between birth and death' by me.
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  25. #24  
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    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    The government is a representation of the people. The excellent daycare (and night care if you have a night job) system in finland is in place because the people care about each other.
    They care enough to vote themselves some largess from the government coffers.
    Accessible cheap and good daycare gives options. Many women decide to study again for instance to improve their situation. That's feasible because education is for free, they get student benefits, and they can put their children in daycare.

    This gives social flexibility for all. Not just the ones born rich.
    Okay, you are a socialist. That still doesn't mean it makes economic sense. You could just confiscate wealth from the rich and give it directly to the poor, letting them spend it in a more economically beneficial manner. Then they would have even more options, such as staying home with their kids.
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  26. #25  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    I agree that daycare is important, and it should be cheap enough to make working for mothers financially attractive. Such measures pay their own costs, more working women means more national income. At the moment the Dutch government is working hard to improve the situation (it's correct that daycare is very expensive here, and there's lack of capacity), they'll have to. We can't afford not-working women when population aging kicks in, in a couple years.
    If this really made economic sense, you would find that the women would get a job, pay for the daycare out of their own salary, and put the rest in the bank. What you will end up with, with your govt program, is women going to work at a salary less than the cost of the daycare, because the daycare is free (to them). Now, if you feel the need to provide govt daycare for reasons of political correctness, then go ahead.
    Harold, I think you are leaving several relevant factors out of the discussion. This may become a long post, please bear with me :wink:

    1: The benefit of daycare for society is bigger than the income of the working women minus the cost of daycare.

    Skills and working experience gradually wither away when they are not used. Doing a study or training is not like buying a machine, which you can store away for 20 years and then start using again as if nothing changed. A lot of women do an expensive study (which in most parts of Europe is subsidized heavily by the government, so the society wants to see those investments pay themselves back), then work a couple years until they get children. Women then often want to 'pause' their career for say 10 or 15 years, only to find that after this time their skills have become obsolete or much less valuable. So they never re-enter the labour market or only enter on a much lower level than their education would originally have permitted. Expensive studies go unused, talents are wasted.
    If a high-quality but cheap daycare system can keep these women on the labour market during motherhood then their 'human capital' can be kept on a high level. For a few years they may actually earn less than the cost of daycare (but this would surprise me, daycare would have to be enormously expensive to be above minimum wage. then again, I don't know how high/low minimum wage in the US is so this may be a EU case), but these costs are earned back because the woman can keep working on a high level after their period of child rearing.

    2: The decision to keep working during motherhood or not is not simply "will I earn more money than daycare costs me?". The cost of working, as becomes clear in TOR's description, also includes not being able to fully experience your child growing up, which is a big cost indeed.
    When daycare is of very low quality this cost will be too high, no mother (except one who's unable to buy food) would send her children to a crappy daycare where her kids waste their time and have a boring youth, just to be able to make an income. But when daycare is of very high quality, so you can be sure that your children are having a good time and are stimulated in their development, the decision to send your kids there and take a job becomes a lot easier to make.

    Consider these 3 situations:

    a) There is no daycare, all mothers stay home and have no job;
    b) There is crappy daycare, only mothers who need money to survive (the ones with the lowest incomes) will work full time. Those who can afford it (usually the ones with high potential incomes) stay home or only work part time, while their human capital withers away. Benefit to society: minimal.
    c) There is high quality daycare, payed largely through state subsidy. Nearly all mothers work (except for a few who have an extremely strong preference for staying home with the kids). Cost: the cost of daycare; Benefit: the incomes (not just low income workers work fulltime, but also the higher income workers), and the upkeep of human capital levels of women. Net benefit to society: high.

    Then there's one last point: as you say, a woman who still stays home even though there's high quality daycare, or a couple who have no children, pay for the daycare of women who do use it. Whether or not this is fair is open to discussion (if education is heavily subsidized by the state then it's not extremely unfair, doing a study on society's cost and then wasting that education by not working is not something that should be promoted); But in the context of strong population aging (in Europe it's many times as big as in the US, and we have a much more expensive social security system to pay for) everyone is in the same boat. Even if you don't have children you have a strong interest to make sure that all women work, so the cost of the social security system is spread over as many working people as possible.
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  27. #26  
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    Hi Pendragon

    re wasted study etc.
    In the Uk, there is no free after school study. The student has to pay to go to university. I paid privately for every course I've ever done, so there is no cost and then loss to society.

    I worked from age 16 full time, many years 6 x 9 hour days a week and I went without holidays too. I did this for 16yrs before having my children.

    I waited until I was 32 to have chidlren so I could 'afford' to be a full time mum.

    It is a very sad world when the choices facing mums are...

    Poverty level -
    you can be a full time mum as everything is free.
    Rich
    you can choose though they often choose to get a nanny
    Working average earner
    Very few choices, most forced to work.


    Wanting to see my kids grow up is not the only reason I want to be a full time mum. I am their mum, it is my JOB to raise my children, mould their characters, assist them in their moral and ethical development. Teach them about health and all the things they need to equip them to become useful healthy happy functioning adults who will contribute to society.

    It is a sad world when the 'norm' is day care, where automatons mind your children but have no personal interest in 'raising' them.

    I do value my time with my children and I take my JOB as mother very seriously. I waited a long time to take on this full time career challenge which is the hardest there is.

    It is probably something many men cannot relate to. I actually wrote an article recently on this very topic.

    see here:
    http://www.problogs.com/Post3458.htm

    It is called - What has the West got against Mothers
    'Time is the space between birth and death' by me.
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