Women pay the cost of inadequate investment in early years care

Investing in a child’s early years is the most cost-effective way to boost their long-term learning, health and wellbeing.

Children who miss out on quality care and education in the early years start primary school at a disadvantage to their peers. 

But not enough is being done to provide quality, affordable care and early learning – and the burden falls unfairly on women to plug the gap. 

A panel of experts discussed the issue on an Instagram Live event called Early Years Care: Women Pay the Cost, hosted by Theirworld on International Women’s Day today.  

Theirworld Chair Sarah Brown said: “We’re increasingly aware that the situation for the youngest members of society and the people who take care of them is worsening – and suffering from a lack of investment and interest at a global scale.

“More than 40% of all children below primary-school age – nearly 350 million of them – need childcare but don’t get access to it.”

Sarah spoke to Indian actor and humanitarian Sanjana Sanghi, who is Save the Children India’s Youth Advocate for Education.  

Sanjana said: “I feel that we are now finally at a place where we are two generations away from the woman not having to take the burden. They will have an equal footing in the world outside and the world at home.” 

Other guest speakers were: 

Janet Mbugua, Kenyan media personality and gender equality advocate with a focus on menstrual equality. She is the founder of the Inua Dada Foundation, whose mission is to create a supportive and accessible environment for schoolgirls. 

Professor Dame Lesley Regan, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Imperial College London St Mary’s Hospital Campus. She is the first Women’s Health Ambassador for England. 

Sara Pascoe, acclaimed comedian, writer and actor, who has written, starred in and hosted shows on BBC TV and written two books. 

You can watch a recording of the event on Theirworld’s Instagram page and below.

Sarah Brown also called for a childcare revolution around the world in an International Women’s Day article in the I newspaper.

She revealed that Theirworld will soon launch a major international campaign to have early education and childcare prioritised by world leaders and treated as the foundation of a nation’s educational structure. Read the full article.

Learn more about giving children the Best Start in Life.