Changes in domestic trends and the increasing need for child care

With increased investment in women’s post-secondary education, decreased emphasis on gender roles, and the rising cost of living, more women with young children are returning to the workforce. But there are implications.

HiMama recently reached the exciting milestone of one million moments recorded and shared. We celebrated with a HiMama One Million Moments Infographic that looks at the state of working families in Canada and how HiMama is helping to address some of the challenges faced by both parents and early years educators.

Since 1976, the employment rate of women with children under the age of six has risen 36%. Increased investment in women’s post-secondary education, which in many cases results in better-paid positions in the workforce, and decreased emphasis on gender roles that peg the man as the sole breadwinner, have both impacted employment opportunities for women. The increase in cost of living in North America over the last few decades has also tipped women’s decision in favour of employment outside the home.

This year, Canada experienced an inflation rate of 2.4% with the most significant increases seen in the areas of food and shelter, which have experienced an inflation rate of 2.9% each. The bottom line: feeding and housing a family is becoming increasingly expensive. With children in the equation, the cost of living increases further.

Traditionally, men have returned to work shortly after their children are born. According to Statistics Canada, only 12% of stay-at-home parents are male. However, there has been a notable 11% increase in stay-at-home dads since 1976, which is a trend that is only likely to gain additional traction over time. We believe (and studies increasingly show) that mothers and fathers both play a very important role in their children’s development in the formative early years so we look forward to monitoring these trends into the future.

Some women go back to work post-maternity leave because they are very committed to careers in their respective fields, while others return for financial reasons. But with the bulk of fathers returning to work shortly after their children are born and with a rising number of mothers holding employment outside of the home, the question of child care arises.

There are currently approximately 987,000 regulated child care spaces in Canada, which equates to full and part-time spots for a mere 23% of children under the age of five. In addition to issues of space and affordability, many parents are feeling increasingly disconnected from their child during these critical years of growth and development. This is one of several areas where we feel HiMama can make a difference.

To see more details about trends in Canada, as well as what HiMama is doing to reconnect working parents with their children, I encourage you to take a look at our HiMama One Million Moments Infographic. We are very proud to be serving mothers and fathers across Canada, as well as abroad, and look forward to celebrating many more special moments with the growing HiMama community.

Finally, a big thank you to everyone who has been part of our continued success, from the early years experts and child care directors who were involved in our initial research on Documentation in the Early Childhood Setting, to all of those who are working with us today to help keep working parents and children connected.

Ron Spreeuwenberg

Ron is the Co-Founder & CEO of HiMama, where he leads all aspects of a social purpose business that helps early childhood educators improve learning outcomes for children.

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