On September 28, 2023, the USAID Women’s Economic Empowerment Community of Practice (USAID WEE CoP) hosted, “Promoting Women’s Economic Empowerment Through Early Childhood Care Programming.”
- Dr. David Evans, Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Development, examined the global landscape of evidence linking early childhood care (ECC) to women’s economic empowerment (WEE) outcomes.
- Amy Luinstra, Manager, Global Operations (Acting), Gender and Economic Inclusion at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), highlighted IFC’s private sector approach to care and shared key learnings from employer-supported childcare models.
- Frances Beaton-Day, Co-Lead for Invest in Childcare at the World Bank (WB), outlined WB’s multi-pronged approach to care and pointed to collaboration with governments to advance ECC solutions and WEE.
- Sabrina Habib, CEO and Co-Founder at Kidogo, presented their innovative social franchising model that partners with women entrepreneurs (“Mamapreneurs”) in low-income Kenyan urban and peri-urban communities to increase access to quality ECC.
Key takeaways from the discussion include:
1. Research on ECC interventions demonstrates positive impacts on WEE; notably related to employment, income, savings, and productivity. Research also indicates improved mental health and well-being for mothers, increased employment for grandmothers and older sisters of working age, and reduced absenteeism and worker turnover in businesses.
2. There are various ECC models that we should continue to test, including community-based care, private and public daycare, and private and public preschool or kindergarten. Opportunities for expanding ECC include integrating ECC into public works schemes, health services, and education systems; working with operators in industrial or export processing zones to provide space for childcare; improving and expanding informal childcare centers; supporting women entrepreneurs to establish or expand childcare businesses; integrating a childcare training track into skills training programs; and implementing legal reforms to support a market for childcare.
3. There is still a lot to learn! Questions of interest for future research:
- Which models and characteristics of care are most beneficial to WEE?
- Which additional WEE outcomes, such as women’s decision-making power, should we measure?
- How do we implement a comprehensive approach to ECC that improves the lives of care entrepreneurs who own and operate businesses (and may also provide care themselves) and of care workers?
- How do we address social and gender norms in care and promote norms shifts that advance WEE, including a focus on engaging men?
- How do we build trust with parents and caregivers to utilize ECC models that promote benefits for women, children, and care workers?
Below you will find the September 28 learning event recording and slides.
Research from the Center for Global Development
- The Impact of Early Childhood Interventions on Mothers (study)
- How Providing Childcare Affects the Grandparents (and Everyone Else in the Family): Evidence from Brazil (blog post)
- How to Measure Maternal Mental Health in Early Childhood Development Evaluations (blog post)
World Bank’s Invest in Childcare Initiative
- Invest in Childcare (website)
- Better Jobs and Brighter Futures: Investing in Childcare to Build Human Capital (paper)
- Addressing Care to Accelerate Equality (thematic policy note)
International Finance Corporation’s employer resources
- Tackling Childcare (website with country-specific reports)
- Tackling Childcare: The Business Case for Employer-Supported Childcare (report)
- Tackling Childcare: A Guide for Employer-Supported Childcare (guide)
- Childcare in the COVID-19 Era: A Guide for Employers (guidance note)
- Economist Impact’s The Childcare Dividend Initiative (video)
- Lydia Awour’s Story, Kidogo MamaPreneur (video)
Resource from USAID
- Early Childhood Care and Education Landscape Overview: Improving Outcomes for Children, Women, Families, and Societies through Catalytic Investment (review)
For questions about this event, or to join the USAID WEE CoP, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.