The fact that relatively fewer women hold paid jobs in Greece than in the former 15 European Union member states cannot be fully explained by social or cultural reasons alone, a study says. «The gap is accounted for, on the one hand, by differences in the education systems – particularly in nursery and primary schools – which make employment conditions for women more favorable abroad, and, on the other, by institutional restrictions mainly related to demand, such as difficulties in the creation of part-time jobs and the quality of the business environment,» writes Dafni Nikolitsa in «The Participation of Women in the Greek Labor Market: Developments and Determining Factors,» which appeared in the January issue of the Bank of Greece’s Economic Bulletin. The importance that childcare services have for the participation of women in the labor market is also confirmed by the negative relationship between the number of children and the likelihood of their mothers’ participation in the labor market. According to the study, the need for increasing prosperity through higher incomes, more favorable conditions for raising children and promoting gender equality dictates the adoption of measures to boost the participation of women in the labor market. Improvements in the business environment, such as cutting red tape and easier licensing would also contribute to such a goal, the study adds.