The Costs of Children

The Costs of Children

Parenting and Democracy in Contemporary Europe

Edited by David G. Mayes and Mark Thomson

The expert contributors provide an assessment of how countries can handle the fair allocation of the costs of childcare. They look at the experience within Europe in recent years and show in particular how these interrelate with the objectives of improving income, employment and social inclusion. The book’s conclusion reveals that choice is the key ingredient as families have different views and different degrees of support available from their relatives. Income and social inclusion can provide choice but ironically employment does not always. An employment-based model can sometimes narrow people’s choices, particularly for people on low wages. The major concern is that most existing systems effectively discriminate against mothers.

Chapter 12: High-qualified women and the gendered division of domestic labour: an exploratory analysis from the field of photonics

Edited by David G. Mayes and Mark Thomson

Subjects: development studies, family and gender policy, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, family and gender policy


One of the (most important) reasons why women are under-represented in certain working fields, such as science, engineering and technology (SET), is the fact that women still shoulder the biggest share of household work (Schiebinger and Gilmartin, 2010, p. 41; Stratigaki, 2004, pp. 40-41). These fields have workplace characteristics that make it hard for women to compete with male workers and to fulfil the demands associated with the ‘idealworker’ culture, which assumes that the employee has no responsibilities outside the workplace and is primarily committed to the workplace (Lewis and Humbert, 2010, p. 241; Williams, 2001, pp. 1-6). In 1999, the European Commission published a report entitled “Women and Science”: Mobilising Women to Enrich European Research that revisited the long-term concern with the under-representation of women in science in comparison with other competitive economic sectors. Since the report’s publication, a lot of effort has been made by the European Commission as well as by the EU’s member states to develop the knowledge, methods and best practices to attract and retain more women in science.

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