The Nordics rank among the best countries for women, mothers and children, taking the first five spots in the Children’s 2015 Mother’s Index. This is to some extent because of the fact that it is much easier in those countries to balance a career with parenthood due to affordable day care.
Female participation in the work force has hence increased and the pay gaps have decreased. Sweden is one of the most gender equal countries in the world and it is partly made possible by the aforementioned affordable childcare.
The costs for day care in Sweden are approximately 4.4 percent of the net income, whereas in the UK it makes up 33.8 percent. Over 90 percent of Swedish children from ages one to five attend government subsidized day care.
Additionally, Swedish provide relatively flexible work hours, which makes it easier to balance career with a child’s activities. Parental leave also adds to the easement of career interruptions, where in Sweden, mothers and fathers are entitled to 480 days of paid leave, of which both have an exclusive right to 90 days each.
Ironically, due to a higher female work force, tax income increases and hence, day care can be subsidized, creating a win-win outcome for all sides.