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Is childcare cost a barrier to women managers' retention and progress at large firms?

Amod Choudhary (Economics and Business, Lehman College, City University of New York, Bronx, New York, USA)

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

ISSN: 2040-7149

Article publication date: 13 September 2021

Issue publication date: 18 March 2022




The impact of childcare cost and childcare responsibilities has generally negatively impacted women in workforce. There has been lack of research on the impact of childcare on women managers in larger US public firms. The purpose of this paper is to determine how childcare costs impact the number of women managers in S&P 500 firms.


The paper employs Driscoll–Kraay panel regression model using childcare data for ten years and the percent of women managers at S&P 500 firms.


The results show that increase in childcare cost leads to decrease in percent of women in management positions when the child is an infant. Interestingly, but plausibly the results also show that for preschool-age children as the cost of childcare increases, there is an increase in percent of women in management. Furthermore, childcare costs are still an impediment to careers of women managers, specifically when the child is an infant. The effect is much less when the child grows from an infant to preschool age.

Research limitations/implications

One limitation of this research paper is that the childcare cost data is not directly from the S&P 500 firms. The percent of women management data used is limited to the largest S&P 500 firms. Also, there is no agreement as to definition of a manager at these firms. Moreover, not only childcare cost, but the quality and availability of childcare are factors that also play a role in decision to work and/or use of childcare.


This paper adds to the existing literature by providing evidence that childcare cost impedes women managers' career growth. This finding is more worrisome given that Covid-19 has had a very disproportionate impact on women with child(dren) in the workforce.



Choudhary, A. (2022), "Is childcare cost a barrier to women managers' retention and progress at large firms?", Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Vol. 41 No. 2, pp. 241-253.



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