More Care for the Kids, Better Careers for the Moms

New research shows that affordable and expanded daycare coverage in Norway has prompted more mothers to return to the workforce—and other countries may want to replicate their success.

Image of woman helping child with coat in classroom

By Michelle Nicholasen

To American parents struggling to find affordable childcare solutions, Norway might seem like a utopia: a place where parents who want affordable daycare, get it—or receive a cash payment if they don’t use it. 

Norway has long provided subsidized daycare for children aged three and older. But the years between 2002 and 2008 were a time of sweeping reform. In 2002, the government increased federal financing for daycare, and it expanded full-time daycare services to include babies at the tender age of one. The aim was to get more mothers back into the workforce. 

To find out if this radical reform achieved its goals, Weatherhead Center Postdoctoral Fellow Øyvind Skorge, and his colleague Henning Finseraas, both researchers at the Institute of Social Research in Oslo, evaluated and measured the effects that the reform had on working women. Their study found that expanded full-time daycare not only helped women attain higher level positions, but also increased their aspirations about work.... Read more about More Care for the Kids, Better Careers for the Moms