Living: Children of The World

The U.S. lags behind almost every other industrial nation, and indeed much of the world, in offering an adequate child-care system. More than 100 other countries have national policies, and many European countries have extensive networks of centers that are subsidized and regulated by the government. Nevertheless, as women flood the marketplace, even countries with relatively comprehensive systems find there are simply too many youngsters who need watching. A sampling:

FRANCE. Working mothers are legally entitled to at least 16 weeks' maternity leave at 84% of their salaries. Some 79,000 children are cared for in 1,494 centers, called creches, of which...