A report on Mothers in the New Zealand Workforce by Statistics New Zealand provides some insight into how mothers are faring in the workplace, and how this experience is shaped by their partnered/non-partnered status.
Two articles by Simon Collins shine a spotlight on the impact of women returning to work at an ever quicker rate. Both articles are thought provoking and worth a read. In the first one, Collins contrasts the recent extension to paid parental leave entitlements (up from 14 weeks to 16 weeks and 18 weeks by April 2016) with data from the Growing Up in New Zealand study. Mothers in the study indicated the median leave they wanted was 12 months, while the reality presented a different picture again – 37% of mothers returned within nine months and 71% saying they went back because they “needed the money” and not some intrinsic desire to return to work. It seems even the Children’s Commissioner Dr Russell Wills has concerns. We should “provide financial support we can for parents to remain at home for as long as they can” The best person to bring up your children is you“.
While New Zealand may not be a nation of latch door key kids, the second of Colin’s articles raises concerns from Dr Sarah Farquhar, former Chief Executive of the Early Childhood Council, that “For some babies childcare may be the best option, but there is a growing amount of worrying anecdotal evidence from early childhood teachers that they are seeing a loss of confidence in parenting, and in parents understanding their crucial role as their children’s first teachers“. Never before have so many of our kiwi children experienced so much time in childcare institutes without their parents; time will only tell what the impact will be on their development and their ability to parent their own children.