Investments in Childcare for Gender Equality in Asia and the Pacific

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The report “Investments in Childcare for Gender Equality in Asia and the Pacific”, which was released by the International Labour Organization (ILO), Asian Development Bank (ADB), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), highlights the importance of public provision of childcare and its effects on accessibility, affordability, quality, and decent work for childcare workers.

In order to promote socioeconomic advancement for women and children, create job possibilities, and assist a transformative recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the study delivers crucial results and recommendations.

In Asia and the Pacific, women—mostly mothers—carry a disproportionate share of the burden of raising children between the ages of 0 and 6 years. Through limiting women’s involvement in the social, economic, and political realms, this gendered childcare separation impedes the advancement of gender equality and women’s economic empowerment through labor force participation. It is critical to look at the makeup of the childcare sector and the workforce engaged in order to address this issue.

Asia and the Pacific region countries offer a variety of childcare services, including those from the public sector, the private sector, community-based groups, religious institutions, and the social and solidarity economy. The workforce in childcare is predominately made up of women, many of whom experience several forms of discrimination and socioeconomic difficulties. Unfortunately, many childcare positions come with poor and unstable working circumstances, including low compensation, few chances for career progression, and insufficient social and financial safeguards.

The value of investing in the childcare industry

Governments have designated investments in the childcare sector as a top priority in their policies in recognition of the need to solve these issues. Such investments not only assist the overall development of children but also the economic participation of women by providing them with more time for work-related activities and opening up job opportunities in the care industry. Additionally, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) included in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development are helped by investments in childcare.

Public childcare investments support SDG 5 on gender equality, especially SDG goal 5.4, which aims to acknowledge and value women’s unpaid caregiving. Investments in childcare promote greater gender equality by enabling mothers to participate more actively in social, political, and economic activities. Additionally, these investments help women find jobs in the childcare industry, which is consistent with SDG 8 on decent work and economic growth, especially SDG goal 8.5, which emphasizes equal compensation for work of equal worth.

Additionally, fulfilling SDG 3 on good health and well-being for all age groups depends on the care and development of young children. With a focus on SDG 4.2, which aims to offer all children with high-quality early childhood development, care, and pre-primary education to ensure their preparedness for primary education, the childcare sector is crucial to achieving SDG 4 on quality education.

Read the full report here

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