Tackling Employer-Supported Childcare: A journey from why to how

By Rudaba Zehra Nasir, Global Lead for Tackling Childcare and Women’s Employment, IFC Gender Secretariat [@RudabaNasir]


The OECD Policy Dialogue on Women’s Economic Empowerment aims to generate evidence and guidance for policy makers and development partners on how to unlock women’s economic potential. The latest publication, “Enabling Women’s Economic Empowerment: New approaches to unpaid care work in developing countries”, presents evidence-based analysis and policy guidance on what works to recognise, reduce and redistribute women’s unpaid care work and achieve SDG 5.4 as an entry point for promoting women’s economic empowerment in developing countries. Accessible quality childcare is one solution where both governments and the private sector can contribute, as explored further in this blog.

Gender blog 2

My son calls me ‘Aunty’

Shazia, a mother to a toddler, migrated to Dhaka to work at a garment factory. “When I visit my village, my son calls me ‘Aunty,’” she says, with tears in her eyes. Separated from his mother for long periods of time, the son barely knows her.

I met Shazia last year at the factory where she works. She feels conflicted about leaving her son in her mother-in-law’s care. “Sometimes I think about quitting my job and going back to raise him myself.”

Shazia is not alone. The more parents we talk to in focus groups, interviews and surveys from Bangladesh to Fiji, the more it becomes clear that they share similar stories. Parents report feeling stressed and guilty, taking time off from work or being present but not productive, quitting due to lack of family-friendly workplace support, and low levels of awareness and trust in available childcare options.

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Why you should care about unpaid care work

By Jorge Moreira da Silva, Director, Development Co-operation Directorate, OECD

The way we currently measure our economies ignores a large portion of work that affects all of us. Most of this work is done by women and girls for free, every day. Around the world, they are responsible for 75% of unpaid care and domestic work in our homes and communities (see Figure 1). So these issues are not just hypothetical, but critical to achieving inclusive economic growth and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Figure 1: Gender gaps in unpaid care work by geographic region

Unpaid work Graph

Note: NA stands for North America, ECA for Europe and Central Asia, LAC for Latin America and the Caribbean, EAP for East Asia and the Pacific, SSA for Sub-Saharan Africa, MENA for Middle East and North Africa, SA for South Asia.  

Source: OECD Gender Institutions and Development Database (GID-DB), 2019, oecd.stat.org.

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