A new employment study by The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has singled out stay at home mothers at the “greatest untapped potential’’ for Australia’s workforce.
And while we couldn’t agree more (mums are awesome), the report then goes on to flag “potentially large losses to the economy’’ due to women staying at home.
“One of the areas of greatest untapped potential in the Australian labour force is inactive and/or part-time working women, especially those with children,’’ it reads. “There are potentially large losses to the economy when women stay at home or work short part-time hours.’’
The report suggests the economy would face “a future shortage of labour as the population ages” unless efforts were made to help mums (as well as older women and indigenous Australians) back into the workforce.
According to the report, work is “important for women’s personal wellbeing and perceptions of their overall quality of life’’ and says that “women need flexible work arrangements and a supportive workplace that helps them meet their responsibilities at work and at home”.
Understandably the report has sparked debate online, with many pointing out the rising cost of childcare and expressing outrage over the suggestion that the work they are doing in raising the next generation is deemed of little or no value.
“Work all week to pay child care costs and only clear $60 beyond that!? The issue here isn't really SAHMs (or dads), it's the cost of childcare,” writes Michele Johnston on Facebook.
“Mothers? Who are raising the next generation? A drain on the economy? Pathetic,” writes Cindy Lyndon.
“Why is it always about childcare? It is a woman's right to stay at home with her family and it eases the load on the childcare issues we are always hearing about. By staying at home and not accessing childcare rebates, why can there not be tax incentives for the working partner instead. The government needs to look outside the box on this issue,” writes Mardi Laurie.