The fact that women are more likely to take time out of the workforce to provide unpaid care for their children is part of the reason why there is a persistent gender wage gap in this country—10.5 percent of the differences in men’s and women’s earnings can be attributed to labor-force experience. When women work less, they pay less into Social Security over a shorter period of time, which is one of the reasons why retired women are more likely to live in poverty than retired men.
Childcare varies dramatically across cultures. These discrepancies are attributed to the homestead and household environments. That is, the type of work performed by adult caretakers in a given community strongly influence the type of childcare used. In agricultural/ horticultural societies where work is done to provide sustenance for the community, siblings and similar-aged children are responsible for younger children. While many global communities prefer children aged 7–10 for designated caregiving responsibilities, children no younger than 12 are preferred in the Western world where paid childcare is common.