On 12 October, experts from the private and public sector gathered at the World Bank HQ in DC to discuss the increasingly important topic of childcare around the world.
The International Finance Corporation, part of the World Bank Group, has just released an extensive report on the subject and invited a group of panel experts, including Bright Horizons’ President Stephen Kramer, to join in the discussion.
The consensus from the debate was reflect in the title of the report: “Tackling Childcare: The Business Case for Employer Supported Childcare”.
“No country, community, or economy can achieve its potential or meet the challenges of the 21st century without the full and equal participation of women and men, girls and boys,” wrote IFC’s Vice President Nena Stoiljkovic in the report’s forward. “Reliable, affordable, and good-quality childcare is essential for making progress.”
Among the many insights on childcare from the event:
- It’s not just a woman’s issue. Dads, said Ms. Stoiljkovic worry about childcare, too.
- It’s a definitive recruitment tool: “Childcare on site is a powerful message that being a parent and employee is embraced,” said Bright Horizons President Stephen Kramer.
- The business benefits are significant. “We are looking at daycare as a profit centre,” said MAS Kreeda CEO Farhan Ifram in Jordan discussing the effect of his company’s childcare centre on in initiatives like recruitment and retention. “Not a cost centre.”
The final consensus: high-quality care and early education is an equialiser for children that will benefit today’s and tomorrow’s workforces.
It’s a “call to action,” wrote Ms. Stoiljkovic, “encouraging all stakeholders to invest in childcare and support the infrastructure necessary for high-quality childcare providers to expand and meet the growing demand.
“Success,” she wrote, “will score a triple win for all: employees and their children, businesses, and economies.”