BBC Radio 4's Crossing Continents Crossing Europe was broadcast on Thursday, 16 June, 2005, at 1102 BST.
The programme was repeated on Monday, 20 June, 2005, at 2030 BST.
"When it comes to childcare, Germany is a third world country."
That was the damning statement from Germany's Minister for Family Affairs.
The legacy of kinder, kucher, kircher - children, kitchen and church - where women were expected to stay at home, has left the country with a childcare crisis.
Nurseries for under-3s are practically non-existent, and all-day care is a rarity.
In Crossing Continents Crossing Europe Rosie Goldsmith travels to the town of Laer in western Germany where a childcare revolution is underway and mothers can pursue their careers.
Meanwhile, in Estonia, with its chronically low birth rate, women are being pushed back into the home and paid to breed.
Presenter: Rosie Goldsmith
Producer: Emma Rippon
Editor: Maria Balinska