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Impact of Centre-based Quality Childcare on Maternal Employment & Early Childhood Development Outcomes

April, 2019

India has low Female Labour Force Participation (FLFP) and this has ramifications on women’s economic empowerment and India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The issue is compounded by time-poverty endured by women, masking the burden of unpaid work, a part of which is unpaid care for the children and the elderly. Often, social protection and child development programmes in India, and globally, target a certain population in isolation, ignoring unintended consequences – for example, child nutrition programmes often prescribe interventions without considering the demands these impose on a woman’s time. At a household level, this translates into exacerbating time poverty for women and deprives children of direct care in early childhood. At the state level, this results in disjointed or siloed social protection policies and diluted programmes for women’s empowerment and child development. “Centre-based Quality Childcare: A Case for Public Investment for Improved Maternal Employment and Early Childhood Development” is a three-part series of papers.

The series is a commentary that emphasises the inter-connectedness of labour, women’s empowerment, and child development policies and programmes. It elaborates on this inter-connectedness’s criticality in planning and implementation to actualise the additive effects (positive feedback loops) and alleviate exposure to risk factors and unintended consequences (negative feedback loops), especially at the critical points in the life cycle of a woman (childhood to adulthood). More specifically, this first paper in the series maps the pathway on how accessible, affordable and quality centre-based childcare can support women by reducing and redistributing the unpaid care work, thereby alleviating time poverty to a certain extent and improving the quality of care for children. It brings together evidence of how public provision of centre-based childcare has had positive impact on the two outcomes of interest – maternal employment as well as various aspects of early childhood development for children under six years of age.

Resource Type Working paper

Topics Early childhood development outcomes, childcare, ECD, ICDS, Integrated Child Development Services, maternal employment, child care centers

Authors Surabhi Chaturvedi