Despite Growing Gender Equality, More Women Stay at Home Than Men

Homebound: Women’s participation in the workplace is growing around the world, but in nations like Japan, mothers are pressured to stay at home

Women have made great strides in education, employment, politics and equality in general worldwide, but participation in the labor force remains stubbornly below those of men. “By and large, a substantial proportion of mothers withdraw from employment after childbirth,” explains demography expert Joseph Chamie. Choices vary for men and women about working full or part time, placing children or elders in care, or staying at home for family duties. In India for 2016, 29 percent of women with young children joined the workforce versus 81 percent of men, and in Sweden, 80 percent of women are in the workforce versus 84 percent of men. Low participation rates contribute to a gender gap in wages, and higher participation rates contribute to economic growth and reduce poverty. Individuals and families make many calculations in balancing work and family responsibilities. Chamie notes that “families with two incomes are better prepared for unemployment, higher education, martial disruption, illness or economic downturns.” – YaleGlobal