New research and 2021 campaign on childcare and gender equality

New research and 2021 campaign on childcare and gender equality
How should we compare early learning and care systems?

WorkEqual (formerly known as ‘Dress for Success’) has published an opinion poll to mark Equal Pay Day 2021. Equal Pay Day is the date on which women in Ireland effectively stop earning, relative to men, because of the gender pay gap, which currently stands at 14.4%. Factors that impact this gap were included in the poll.

Findings included:

  • 48% believe childcare arrangements – including sourcing and selecting a provider, drop-offs and collections – are more likely to be a woman’s responsibility. 37% say this is likely to be a shared responsibility, while only 2% believe it is likely to be a man’s responsibility;
  • When it comes to covering childcare costs out of your own salary, 18% say this is more likely to be a woman’s responsibility; 59% say it is likely to be shared, and 7% believe it is more likely to be a man’s responsibility;
  • In relation to career progression, 35% of people say family caring duties have impacted their career. 45% of women feel they are impacted, compared to 25% of men. 33% of women with teenage children say their career has been impacted vs. 0% of men. For parents of pre-teens, 41% of women feel impacted, compared to only 10% of men. And, for parents of pre-school children, 46% of women feel impacted, compared to 16% of men;
  • 74% of people believe closing the gender pay gap is important and should be a priority for government and employers. Support is particularly strong amongst women: 85% of women agree with this statement, compared to 63% of men. Older men are more likely to agree with this statement than younger men;
  • 67% are in favour of pay transparency: they believe people should have the right to know what other colleagues doing the same work are paid. Support is highest amongst women (70% of women agree vs. 63% of men);
  • The vast majority of people (70%) believe concerns about the gender pay gap represent awareness of a real issue. In contrast, 16% believe they are an example of political correctness going too far;
  • Understanding of what the gender pay gap is – and what causes it – is mixed. 70% of people recognise that the gender pay gap is the difference in the average hourly wage of all men and women across the workforce. 85% equate addressing the gender pay gap with ensuring people who do the exact same job get paid the exact same salary. Only 52% believe the gender pay gap exists because women often make career decisions influenced by the need to care for children and/or other family members.

The full poll is available here.

WorkEqual’s Equal Pay Day activities are taking place as part of the organisation’s annual campaign to promote workplace gender equality. The campaign has run every November since 2016 and this year, the campaign’s focus is on childcare and how family caring duties impact on workplace gender equality. A flagship seminar – ‘Reimagining Childcare Provision’ – will take place on Thursday, 25 November, featuring international guest speakers showcasing best practices in public childcare provision, and a panel discussion, which includes Early Childhood Ireland, on the challenges and solutions from an Irish perspective. The event is free to attend, and a registration link can be found at www.workequal.ie.

If you have questions about Early Childhood Ireland’s policy work, please email us.

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