Care for family keeps fewer women at home

11/04/2006 14:00

In 2005 some 7 million people aged 15–64 made up the active labour force. Over 1 million people were without employment, while they would like to have a paid job. Another 3 million people did not want to or could not work. This group has become smaller since 2003 because fewer women stay at home to care.

Over 1 million people want paid work

The inactive labour force in 2005 averaged 483 thousand people. Over 1 million indicated they wanted work. The half a million difference consists of people who cannot start work shortly in a job of at least 12 hours a week or who are not actively looking.

People aged 15–64 seeking paid employment, 2005

People aged 15–64 seeking paid employment, 2005

Care instead of job no option for men

In 2005 there were more than 1 million men and almost 2 million women who did not want a job of twelve hours or more right away. The main reason for almost a third of them, mainly young people, was education. More than one in five gave ill health and disability as their reason, and another fifth care for the family. The latter group consists almost entirely of women. There are hardly any men who decide not to work in order to care for their family.

Reasons not to want paid work, 2005

Reasons not to want paid work, 2005

Fewer women caring fulltime

Since 2000 the number of women who do not want a job because they take care of the family has fallen sharply. In 2000 there were 863 thousand, in 2005 this is down to 577 thousand. In the same period the number of people aged 15–64 who do not want a job because of early retirement or illness or disability still increased slightly.

People aged 15-64 who do not want paid work, by reason

People aged 15-64 who do not want paid work, by reason

Less educated women stay at home more

Thirty percent of the women mentioned care for the family as their reason for not taking on a job. Five years before this was 41 percent. Women without much education are overrepresented. In 2005 some 35 percent of all women aged 15–64 fell in this category, versus 51 percent of women staying at home. This is partly because for less well-educated women the ratio between the costs and benefits of paid work is the least favourable. They earn relatively low wages, while the cost for child care is substantial.

Hendrika Lautenbach