Childcare Investments in the Philippines

Childcare is emerging as a critical policy priority to support reducing and redistributing women’s unpaid care work. In the Philippines, the gendered division of childcare is one of the main reasons why the country has the lowest female labour-force participation rate and labour-market gender disparity is one of the worst in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations region. Despite enabling legislative and policy environment and standards for early childhood care and development (ECCD), there remain questions of why reforms have not transformed the ECCD sector, and why leading government agencies and local government units have found it challenging to translate policy, structural reforms and programmatic adjustments into large-scale, integrated and sustained outcomes for children and childcare workers. A gendered understanding of the issues in the ECCD sector may direct policies and programmes towards being gender transformative and contribute to attaining sustainable development goal (SDG) 5 and gender parity in other SDG targets. This study examines the situation of childcare for children aged 0 to 6 years old and how existing policy and regulatory frameworks for early childhood care and development can be made accessible and enhanced. It provides policy recommendations for duty bearers and stakeholders to promote accessible, affordable, quality childcare services and decent work for childcare workers. This would ensure better social and economic outcomes for women, improved decent work opportunities for male and female childcare workers, and support transformative COVID-19 recovery—leading to gender equality and attainment of the SDGs.