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Reader Response: Caring For Children a Family Issue

I WRITE with regard to the article ‘Engineering a fine balance’ in the January 31 edition of WA Business News. I feel I have to ask – when was this article written? When did childcare become a “women’s issue”? Use of childcare “outsourcing motherhood”? Is this a state where all fathers have abdicated their responsibility for raising their children? My own observations tell me this isn’t true. Provisions for childcare, be they tax concessions or other mechanisms, are not benefits for women but for families – as is maternity leave. The comment that just because they do it in Scandinavia is extraordinarily misleading. In fact, Australia and the US are two of the very few countries in the world that offer no paid maternity (or parental) leave. It is offered in Europe, Africa, Asia, and South America. In a state that has significant labour shortages, coupled with low rates of participation of women in the workforce, all employers should be concerned with attracting and retaining top talent. Perhaps some enlightened organisation will understand that offering benefits to employees that support their choices as parents might help them keep some of their best people. Helen Miller Applecross

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