Development of childcare services: an opportunity for economic growth, advancement of gender equality and realization of reproductive rights
In the Republic of Moldova, childcare is a complex challenge, and many parents have difficulty accessing quality services to ensure proper care for their children. The insufficiency of childcare services has a significant impact on women's participation in the labour market and generates economic and social inequalities. Moreover, this limits the right of women and couples to have the desired number of children and to balance personal and professional life.
To address this issue, an event dedicated to strengthening childcare services was organized today, July 19, 2023, within the premises of the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova. It provided a platform for discussion and collaboration between Government representatives, civil society members, service providers, development partners and experts in the field.
During the event, the "Study on the economic impact of institutionalization of childcare services in the Republic of Moldova" was presented. Its main purpose is to provide relevant data on the costs and benefits of institutionalization of childcare services, with a focus on supporting the development and implementation of the National Care Program for children under 3 years and legislative and policy changes regarding family-friendly facilities in the public and private sectors.
Dominika Stojanoska, UN Women Moldova Country Representative, mentioned: "The availability and accessibility of childcare services are essential for women to fully benefit from professional opportunities and to eliminate economic and social inequalities. We are committed to further contributing to the development and diversification of childcare services and to providing women with opportunities for economic development and financial independence. Cross-sectoral collaboration and the joint effort of all stakeholders play a crucial role in this process, and the results achieved will bring lasting benefits for society as a whole."
According to Nigina Abaszada, UNFPA Moldova Resident Representative, family-friendly policies and childcare services are essential in helping women and men realize their fertility intentions. They will reduce inequalities in the distribution of household chores, which largely fall on the shoulders of women, and strengthen gender equality. "UNFPA studies show that, in the Republic of Moldova, people want to have 3 children, but in reality they have 1 child, maximum two. This happens for various reasons, including reduced opportunities for women to be able to combine motherhood with professional duties. By investing in equal conditions for women and men at work and family-friendly policies, we support the choice for people's desired fertility and demographic resilience of the country," said Nigina Abaszada, UNFPA Moldova Resident Representative.
"Family-friendly facilities must target both mothers and fathers. The latter must feel comfortable in benefiting from these policies without fear of being discriminated against at work, and employers must provide working mothers with the necessary conditions to be able to combine work and family life," said Maha Damaj, UNICEF Country Representative in the Republic of Moldova.
The study on the economic impact of institutionalization of childcare services in the Republic of Moldova brought to the fore important conclusions. It has been found that increased availability of these services will have a positive impact on women's participation in the labour market, reducing the number of mothers working in low-paid jobs. Investment in childcare has been identified as a driver of economic growth and will generate additional tax revenues. The availability of childcare services was also associated with increased birth rates.
By providing greater access to childcare services, we will create an environment where women can reach their professional potential and balance responsibilities, thus contributing to promoting gender equality and developing a fair and prosperous society.
The study has been conducted by Cambridge Econometrics in collaboration with CIVITTA, at the initiative of UN Women, UNFPA and UNICEF, with the financial support of the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) and Sweden.