ARCSEA statement for Women’s Month 2023
On International Working Women’s Month, the Association for the Rights of Children in Southeast Asia (ARCSEA) honors the historic achievements and victories of the women’s movement and joins them in the continuing struggle for equal rights and opportunities.
Adequate childcare is vital to the development of children and many studies underscore the links between early childhood nurturing and adult outcomes. The quality of care an individual receives as a child has a significant impact on their cognitive development, performance in formal education, behavior toward others, and economic participation.
Unfortunately, for far too long, childcare has been primarily, and in some cases, exclusively relegated to mothers and women. There is growing evidence that this construct has had a negative impact on mothers, other carers, and children, and consequently to their communities and countries.
The still prevalent notion that childcare is primarily a burden of women highlights the double burden that women bear – the twin demands of caring and providing for their families. The time-consuming and resource-intensive nature of childcare has not only resulted in women limiting their participation in economic activities, it has also had an effect on the types of job they are being given or are made available to them, their productivity, and how much they earn, which altogether have a huge impact on their social and political status.
It is often said that it takes a village to raise a child. This women’s month, it is time for the chiefs of our villages – our governments – to take more significant and impactful steps towards empowerment of women, specifically by framing childcare services towards this end.
Specifically, the association calls on governments to:
- Ensure that childcare services provide full day childcare services to allow mothers to participate in social, economic and political activities.
- Ensure accessibility and quality of childcare service by operating an adequate number and appropriate geographic distribution of childcare facilities with adequate number of childcare workers and materials especially in relation to the preceding point.
- Enact and strictly implement laws that mandate employer-supported childcare for employees in the form of on-site childcare or financial support for childcare;
- Encourage fathers to take more responsibility for childcare.
This list of demands is by no means an exhaustive list but they are important steps towards the empowerment of women. In the end, childcare is a social responsibility not only because it ensures the healthy and comprehensive development of the future generations but also because it is key to liberating women towards their full participation in their community and society.