Legislators in Norway are proposing to pay parents to stay at home with their children. Norway provides subsidized child care centers, but there is only room for 40 percent of the nation’s children under age 3. Caring for one child costs the government approximately $400 per month, the same amount Norway is willing to pay parents for making due without a public day-care center.
With 70 percent of Norway’s mothers working outside the home and a lack of workers in health care and service jobs normally held by women, critics worry that the new proposal will injure Norway’s job market and send women back to more traditional roles.
Kristin Mile, Norway’s deputy equality ombudswoman, said “We are afraid that women will be the ones that end up staying home. We’re worried that it will be a move back to more traditional family roles and back to the kitchen for women.”
Other critics have voiced concern that the plan will increase the already-increasing income gap. Poorer parents might opt to stay home to care for their children in order to collect the income, while higher-income families would be willing to pay for private child-care.