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Removing Obstacles to Employment for Women in Ireland

  • Boris Cournède

Women have contributed a great deal to Ireland's economic growth, including by joining the labour force in large numbers. The rise in female participation since 1990 has been amongst the strongest in the OECD, but from a low base. Female participation rates remain below the OECD average for all except the under-thirties. Cultural attitudes and low educational attainment among older women are factors, but policy settings play a role as well. Support to families is not targeted at working parents, implying that the return to work is low for many mothers. Working parents of school-age children also face difficulties in reconciling employment and work because out-of-school care is insufficiently developed. The tax system should be further improved to support second earners, most of whom are women, so as to strengthen their incentive to enter the labour market and reduce the bias in favour of the home production of services such as childcare. This paper reviews these issues and offers recommendations to continue to create a more favourable environment for women who want to enter the labour market. Éliminer les obstacles à l'emploi des femmes en Irlande Les femmes ont largement contribué à la croissance économique de l'Irlande, notamment en rejoignant le marché du travail en grand nombre. L'augmentation du taux de participation des femmes depuis 1990 a été l'une des plus fortes enregistrées au sein de l'OCDE, mais à partir d'un faible niveau initial. Les taux de participation des femmes demeurent en dessous de la moyenne de l'OCDE sauf pour les moins de trente ans. Des facteurs culturels ainsi que le faible niveau moyen d'étude des femmes âgées peuvent expliquer en partie cette situation, mais le cadre d'action publique joue également un rôle. Comme les prestations familiales ne sont pas ciblées sur les parents qui travaillent, peu de mères reviennent à la vie active. Pour les parents d'enfants d'âge scolaire, il n'est pas non plus aisé de concilier travail et vie de famille car les services de garde extrascolaire ne sont pas assez développés. Enfin, le système fiscal devrait être amélioré pour aider le second apporteur de revenu, c'est-à-dire le plus souvent la femme, en l'incitant davantage à prendre un emploi rémunéré et en réduisant le biais en faveur de la production de services au sein du ménage tels que la garde d'enfants. La présente étude s'intéresse à ces différentes questions avant de formuler une série de recommandations qui visent à poursuivre la mise en place d'un environnement plus favorable pour les femmes qui souhaitent travailler.

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Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Economics Department Working Papers with number 511.

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Date of creation: 04 Sep 2006
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Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:511-en
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