Think Piece: Innovations in Childcare to Advance Women’s Economic Empowerment

Think Piece: Innovations in Childcare to Advance Women’s Economic Empowerment

During the pandemic, across the region, governments, small businesses and non- governmental organizations (NGOs) had to scramble to accommodate lockdown mandates. In so doing they also created new partnerships, models, policies and practices for sustainable and affordable childcare that allowed parents to continue working, whilst knowing their children were safe. More advocacy and awareness have been created about the importance of increased investments into the childcare sector. In fact, the provision of accessible, affordable and quality childcare provides what has been termed a “triple dividend.” It can: improve female labour force participation rates; enhance children’s education and capabilities; and create decent jobs in the paid care sector in which women dominate.

This Think Piece: Innovations in Childcare to Advance Women’s Economic Empowerment explores the question “Can inclusive Care Entrepreneurship be a pathway to address gaps in the childcare sector in Asia and the Pacific?”.  It offers promising entrepreneurship models emerging in Asia and the Pacific that could be replicated and scaled to fill childcare gaps to contribute to efforts to rebuild economies and to recognize the care economy as a vehicle to create more jobs and increase women’s economic participation.

UN Women supports the creation of a dynamic Childcare Entrepreneurship ecosystem with even more stakeholders to spark new ideas, design pilot projects, and provide insights into how to leverage and scale innovation to close the care gap. Innovation is a vital policy lever for governments to reverse the gendered effects of Covid-19 and build resilient, inclusive economies where women can equally participate.

This Think Piece is the first in a series on the care ecosystem, to show how Childcare Entrepreneurship could address gaps in the sector. It captures insights from various case studies, an ecosystem landscaping exercise, employer surveys, and a pilot programme: the UN Women Care Accelerator (CA), which were all conducted by WeEmpower Asia, a programme funded by the European Union.

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Geographic coverage: Asia and the Pacific
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