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As we push towards gender equality and embrace progressive values, one significant obstacle remains: the persistent gender gap in labour force participation. Despite progress in many areas, the data from 2022 paints a concerning
picture—only 50% of women worldwide are employed, compared to 80% of men. This imbalance isn’t just a statistic; it’s a structural issue holding back women’s economic empowerment and hindering global advancement.

At the heart of this challenge lies the unequal burden of childcare responsibilities placed on women. Globally, over 75% of unpaid childcare work is shouldered by women, a demanding and time-consuming aspect of family life. This unequal distribution of childcare duties has far-reaching effects, with a staggering 606 million women unable to work in 2018 due to domestic obligations, compared to only 41 million men.

The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated this gap, highlighting the disproportionate impact on women as they juggled childcare, housework, and remote work. Pre-pandemic data from a survey spanning 16 countries revealed that a significant percentage of women with young children spent nine or more hours daily on childcare, compared to men.

Addressing this issue requires a multifaceted approach, with childcare support emerging as a crucial solution. By making childcare services accessible and affordable, we empower women to participate in the workforce and unlock the full potential of our economies.

Initiatives aimed at reducing the time and financial burden of childcare can have a direct impact on female employment rates. Policies that offer free or heavily subsidized childcare services enable more women to confidently enter or re-enter the workforce, contributing to economic growth and gender equality.

One exemplary initiative addressing this challenge is the establishment of Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) centres within labour colonies by organizations like Sampark. These centres not only provide a safe environment for migrant children but also serve as prep schools, preparing them for formal schooling
while their parents work.

Placing ECCD centres within labour colonies addresses the unique needs of migrant women, who often work in construction or domestic roles without the means to afford childcare services. By ensuring that mothers can check on their children during work breaks, these centres alleviate concerns about childcare and enable women to focus
on their employment.

Sampark’s approach underscores the symbiotic relationship between childcare support and female labour force participation. By easing the childcare burden on women, initiatives like ECCD centres empower mothers to pursue employment opportunities, driving economic growth and fostering a more inclusive workforce.

As we strive for greater gender equality, prioritizing childcare assistance is essential. Recognizing the importance of accessible and affordable childcare services allows policymakers and employers to create environments where women can thrive professionally while fulfilling their caregiving responsibilities.

Ultimately, childcare support is not just a social justice issue—it’s an economic imperative. By investing in childcare infrastructure and policies, we can pave the way for a fairer and more prosperous future where women are empowered to fully participate in the workforce, driving innovation, efficiency, and economic growth.

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