Child care services and gender equality


Project description (completed research project)

The birth of the first child represents the key moment that sets the course for labour division within the family. It is still mostly women who reduce their paid employment and take on the new child care tasks, whereas most men have the traditional role of breadwinner. Mothers’ (temporary) withdrawal from working life and reduction of their work hours result in career and pay inequalities. Several studies showed that child care services contribute towards overcoming inequalities between men and women: countries which provide better child care services show a higher labour force participation rate of women and less unequal pay due to gender.


The study examines the role child care services play in gender equality in Switzerland. The main question is how provision of child care services with all its components – supply, price, quality – and also the associated tax rulings have an effect on family planning (time when family is started, number of children) and current paid employment status of men and women (decision to work, work-time percentage, pay, position). For the quantitative analysis the researchers combine data from the Swiss Labour Force Survey with new national data on the child care services supply. In a further step, the findings will be examined in-depth by means of qualitative interviews.

Original title

Gleichstellung der Geschlechter: Welche Rolle spielt die familienergänzende Kinderbetreuung?

Project leader(s)

  • Dr. Rolf Iten, Infras AG, Zürich
  • Prof. Michael Lechner, Schweizerisches Institut für Empirische Wirtschaftsforschung (SEW-HSG), Universität St. Gallen