Covid-19 is an unprecedented public health and humanitarian crisis. In India, it has had a severe impact on informal economy workers, and a disproportionate effect on the widely prevalent gender inequality in the labour market, as well as on the growth and well-being of children, especially children under the age of 6, who are the most vulnerable. The pandemic exposed the global child-care crisis as creches and kindergartens closed to contain the spread of the virus. The majority of child-care work shifted onto women at home and threatened women workers’ employment and livelihoods.
The webinar, Building Back Together: Childcare Key to Recovery for Women Workers organised by the Child Care Campaign for India, on September 15, 2021 highlighted how the absence of childcare facilities in India and around the world has impacted workers’ lives and their children’s lives. Through a panel discussion, women workers, activists and sector experts put forth key demands relating to women informal workers, their childcare needs and for the well-being and health growth and development of their young children. This webinar brought together different actors in the child-care sector across the labour and women’s rights movements and the early childhood development community. Speakers included Amanda Devercelli (World Bank), Kanika Kingra (IWWAGE), Marieke Koning (ITUC), Mirai Chatterjee (SEWA), Monika Banerjee (ISST), Rachel Moussié (WIEGO), Shalini Sinha (WIEGO), Sumitra Mishra (Mobile Creches). The webinar also brought voices of women, carrying the burden of care, represented by Aline Souza, waste picker from Brazil, Annie Diouf, street vendor from Senegal and Parveen Banu Shaikh, home-based worker from India.