Women’s participation in the labour force
Labour force participation is a topical issue in New Zealand. It is well known that the participation of New Zealand women aged 25-39 is low in comparison with women in other OECD countries. There has been considerable interest in policies which might raise women’s participation. This paper provides a base of information on women’s labour force participation in New Zealand and in other OECD countries. The low participation of younger New Zealand women seems to be driven largely by a combination of relatively low participation rates among mothers with young children and sole mothers, together with high fertility rates and high proportions of sole parent families. However, while New Zealand women tend to leave the labour force when they have children, they also tend to return strongly to the labour force when their children get older. Considered over all ages, New Zealand has a reasonably healthy female participation rate, and the total quantity of work done in New Zealand, relative to the size of the working-age population, is amongst the highest in the OECD.
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