In Australia, many parents with young children rely on childcare to enable them to fulfil their working commitments. While parents may rely on a particular type of childcare, it cannot be assumed that it represents their preferred option. This is just one of many areas where women's compromises are misinterpreted as women's choices.
Researchers at the Centre for Independent Studies report that 2/3 of working mothers said they would like the option of using subsidies they receive for formal childcare to instead help subsidise informal childcare – even if it meant receiving a lower subsidy overall. Mothers identified their most important priorities in selecting childcare as warmth of care-giving, location and cost/affordability.
The research highlights a misalignment of priorities for childcare between governments and parents. Mothers tend to prioritise the wellbeing of their children, as indicated by nominating ‘warmth of care-giving’ as their most important priority. The other top priorities relate to practical considerations of cost and location rather than the regulated ‘quality’ aspects of childcare, as indicated by staff credentials and early learning.