New research from the International Labour Organization (ILO) suggests that investing in childcare policies that cover children from birth until the start of mandatory primary education could bring substantial benefits. The study, covering 82 countries, found that every US dollar invested in closing the childcare policy gap could result in an average increase of US$3.76 in global GDP by 2035. Such investment could also reduce the global gender gap in monthly earnings from 20.1% in 2019 to 8% in 2035, as well as increase women’s employment to a global average of 56.5% in 2035, up from 46.2% in 2019.
The research also suggests that such investment could create around 300 million jobs by 2035. The childcare policy gap refers to the period between the end of statutory childcare-related leave and the starting age for free, universal early childhood care and education or primary education, which averages about 4.2 years globally. Addressing this gap could have a significant impact on gender equality, particularly in employment and earnings.