Sunday, 21 April 2024
    More mums returning to work

    More mums returning to work

    Rachel Di Leva admits it’s no walk in the park working full-time, having a partner who works full-time and parenting four children aged between eight and 20 months. But she knows for most, this kind of routine is the new normal, The Age reports.

    “We’re both working professionals,” says Di Leva, a regulatory compliance consultant in the health industry. “It’s a huge and challenging juggle, but you need to earn and you need to stay current.”

    “I did go part-time at some points ... But essentially, you can’t afford financially or professionally not to work.”

    Di Leva and her husband, Rob, an executive at Speech Pathology Australia, are part of a social shift that puts them among the vast majority of coupled households with children under 15.

    As stigma about mothers working full-time plummets and costs rise, labour force and census data shows that in 2022, the proportion of dual-earner families increased to 71 per cent, nearly double the level of 1979.

    In 2021, nearly a third (31 per cent) of families had both parents working full-time, though it remains more common for one parent to be full-time and the other part-time (36 per cent). The number of both parents working full-time has jumped from around one in five (22 per cent) in 2009.

    The need to pay increasingly large mortgages and women wanting to protect their careers means the number of families in which only the father works is down to one in five.

    Dr Jennifer Baxter, from the Australian Institute of Family Studies, says financial need is pushing up women’s work participation and women also do not wish to “waste” their educations.

    “There are so many competing forces in people’s lives and there are a couple of really big ones that overwhelm a desire to stay at home or work less,” says Baxter, who authored the report Employment Patterns and Trends for Families With Children.

    Better access to quality childcare, paid parental leave and workplace flexibility are contributing to mothers – who traditionally work fewer hours as women still tend to earn less – increasing work hours.


    Australian families changing as more mothers return to work full-time (The Age)


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