Dear WEESA Community Members,
 
This month, the WEESA Community of Practice explores resources that help us understand the importance of the availability of childcare to increase female labor force participation.
 
Globally, female labor force participation is significantly lower than male labor force participation, and the gap is particularly stark in South Asia. For the goal of eradicating poverty and boosting shared prosperity, increasing women's economic participation is crucial, as care responsibilities continue to be a key predictor of women’s absence from the labor market. The COVID-19 pandemic has renewed the world’s focus on the global care crisis, as more women than men dropped out of the labor force during the early phases of the pandemic. The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates that over 2 million mothers left the labor market in 2020.
 
This month’s newsletter features WEESA-published infographics on “childcare and women's employment: an overview of selective South Asian countries” and “causal evidence on childcare solutions and women's employment in India.” The newsletter also includes other resources on the importance of childcare in promoting growth and addressing gender disparities in South Asian countries. In addition, the newsletter includes two new evidence reviews by the South Asia Gender Innovation Lab.

Happy reading!
Tanima Ahmed
Hot off the Press
The South Asia Gender Innovation Lab has recently published two reviews of studies that evaluate women’s economic empowerment programs as a mechanism for reducing child marriage and intimate partner violence (IPV), respectively.

These reviews not only focus on the effects of economic empowerment efforts on age of marriage and IPV, but also on intervention implementation—what strategies improve feasibility and sustainability of programming, and minimize unintended harm in SAR? In addition, the reviews contribute to the literature by synthesizing evidence specifically for the South Asia region and highlighting gaps in research to inform work on child marriage and IPV going forward.
How Well Do Economic Empowerment Efforts Prevent Child Marriage in South Asia?
The review finds that transfer programs, particularly those that condition upon girls remaining in school, have had positive impacts on increasing age of marriage in the region. The evidence on the impact of girls’ livelihoods trainings on child marriage prevention is mixed but promising. The review highlights programmatic recommendations and implementation lessons. It also points out several avenues needing further exploration to better understand the complex relationship between economic empowerment and girls’ age of marriage in South Asia. Read more 
How Well Do Economic Empowerment Efforts Prevent Intimate Partner Violence in South Asia?
The review highlights programmatic recommendations as well as implementation lessons from the included evaluations. Evidence suggests that microfinance and transfer programs show heterogeneous effects, with some promise of transfer programs in combination with social components. Overall, the evidence on the impact of women’s economic empowerment on IPV is complex and the review highlights that there is a significant need for future rigorous evaluations of this relationship in SAR and globally. Read more 
WEESA Corner
 WEESA Infographics on Childcare in South Asian countries
Childcare and Women's Employment: An Overview of Selective South Asian Countries
This infographic discusses why the availability of childcare matters for women’s employment. It also presents information on childcare mandates in Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan and the availability of employer-supported childcare in those countries. View the infographic 
Causal Evidence on Childcare Solutions and Women's Employment in India
This infographic presents empirical findings from three impact studies in India examining the availability of daycare centers on caregivers’ employment. These studies suggest that the availability of childcare may positively impact women’s labor market outcomes, but more evidence is needed for the region. View the infographic 
Featured Resources
Women’s Economic Participation, Time Use, and Access to Childcare in Urban Bangladesh
Using survey data collected in 2018 in low-income neighborhoods of Dhaka, this paper finds that women with children aged 0–5 years have a lower likelihood of labor market participation, lower likelihood of working, and lower likelihood of being an earner when compared to women with no children and women with children aged 6 years or older. While this motherhood penalty affects all mothers, those who have young children but have no access to childcare support face the largest penalty. Read more
Childcare, COVID-19 and Female Firm Exit: Impact of COVID-19 School Closure Policies on Global Gender Gaps in Business Outcomes
This paper estimates the impact of a large negative childcare shock on gender gaps in entrepreneurship using the shock created by national COVID-19 school closure policies. The paper shows that, globally, female-led firms were (on average) 4 percentage points more likely to close their business and experienced larger revenue declines than male-led firms during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.  Read more 
Better Jobs and Brighter Futures: Investing in Childcare to Build Human Capital
This report presents the evidence on why childcare matters for building human capital, examines the current status of childcare provision worldwide (including an estimate of the global gaps in access), and presents specific actions countries can take to expand access to quality, affordable childcare for all families that need it—especially the most vulnerable. Read more here
Blogs
Virtual Events
Past Events: 
The Relevance of Care Work for Gender Equality – Action for Sustainability

This high-level event featured a multistakeholder and intergenerational discussion on how the Global Alliance for Care can play a catalytic role in promoting the incorporation of the care dimension in the social, labor, environmental and economic policies, to bring about transformative change for gender equality and a sustainable and just future for all.
View the recording

Ensuring an Inclusive COVID-19 Recovery through Investments in Cash, Care, and Data
At this event, Nigerian Minister of Finance Zainab Ahmed, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Melinda French Gates, and Executive Director of the White House Gender Policy Council Jennifer Klein discussed pathways to a gender-equal COVID-19 recovery, approaches that donor institutions and governments are taking to achieve their goals and remaining challenges.

View the recording
What We Are Listening to
National Public Radio’s (NPR) podcast on “Childcare Conundrum”
This podcast discusses millions of women dropping out of the workforce during the pandemic—many of them to care for their children. And while women are beginning to return to work (especially now that schools have reopened), they're going back at incredibly slow rates. Economics professor Betsey Stevenson asserts that two things could increase women's ability to thrive in the workforce—a national reconsideration of childcare and a more flexible workplace. Listen 
here

International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) podcast on “Women in Economics: Jayati Ghosh on Unpaid Care Work”
In this podcast, journalist Rhoda Metcalfe speaks with Jayati Ghosh, Professor of Economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, whose work on gender issues and the public value of care work gives voice to the unpaid caregivers who form the economic base for societies around the world. During the discussion, Ghosh notes that standard measures of productivity are skewed because most care work is not captured in GDP. Listen here 
Job Vacancies
Location: Dhaka, Bangladesh Deadline: July 10, 2022 Location: New Delhi, India Deadline: July 12, 2022
Inter-Parliamentary Union - Junior Consultant  for the Gender Partnership Programme
Location: Geneva, Switzerland Deadline: July 15, 2022
International Labour Organization - Project Officer for Gender and Social Inclusion
Location:  Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh Deadline: July 26, 2022
About Us
WEESA is a knowledge community designed with the goal of strengthening the linkages between evidence and action by curating evidence on “what works,” amplifying local voices and knowledge and enhancing local capacity on women’s economic empowerment in the region through small grants for local organizations and researchers. 

WEESA is hosted by the World Bank’s 
South Asia Region Gender Innovation Lab (SAR GIL), a solutions platform for gender equality, supported by the Umbrella Facility for Gender Equality (UFGE) and the South Asia Regional Trade Facilitation Program
As a knowledge-sharing platform, we encourage our community members to share events, research, blogs, news, and ideas for the benefit of other community members. Please reach out to the WEESA team to say hi and submit your content and suggestions.
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