Rhonda Breitkreuz (University of Alberta)

"Closing the gap? Making sense of mothers’ employment in Canada"

19 April 2018


In international comparison, Canadian mothers have exceptional educational attainment and above average employment rates. However, Canadian mothers have lower employment rates and lower earnings than their male counterparts. In this lecture, I first provide an overview of the conceptualizations of mothers’ employment. I then examine the hours of employment of mothers and fathers in Canada by age of child, providing a nuanced, point-in-time empirical analysis of the labour-force configurations of Canadian parents. I suggest that, on balance, Canadian mothers are underemployed, and posit that much of this can be explained by significant gender disparities in contributions to unpaid work. I make policy recommendations to increase mothers’ employment opportunities.