Child Care

children in Balsewa child care centre, India

Informal women workers' low earnings mean they work long hours to meet their most basic needs, leaving little time for them to care for children living in their households. But children require care. Without quality child care services, women either forgo paid work or are less productive because they have to look after their children while trying to work. 

The lack of quality child care options contributes to gender inequalities in labour force participation rates and earnings and to high levels of poverty among women informal workers.
A waste picker in Brazil said:

When there is no day care, I don’t work.

Child care is vital. Especially in the poorest households, the earnings of informal women workers are essential to the household. For children, access to quality child care services and more focused time spent with parents can lead to better care and to positive education and health outcomes.

As one South African trader said:

…there is actually no time for children. Our children do not get the attention they deserve from us.

Women informal workers may have to take their children along while they work, which can expose children to unsafe environments. Or they may leave children in informal care arrangements that are expensive and/or of low quality. Family members are not available to provide child care if workers have migrated, or if the grandparents also work. And in households where both women and men must work long hours to earn low incomes, sharing care responsibilities more equitably cannot be the main solution.

    • When G7 leaders from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.K. and the USA convened in June 2018, their discussions were influenced by recommendations from the G7’s Gender Equality Advisory Council. Child care and other social protection provisions were key to these recommendations. Read more.

    Child Care Campaign Promotional Material

    Promotional material from WIEGO's Child Care Campaign

    Learn more

    Informal Economy Topic