By Yeong Pey Jung (Senior Analyst, Penang Institute), Ng Zhi Jin (Intern, Penang Institute) & Nur Hasanah Akhir (Program Manager, Family and Children Affairs Department, Penang Women’s Development Corporation) | Posted on
- A pilot survey has been conducted by PWDC and Penang Institute to collate perceptions and to investigate the needs of childcare services in the state. A total of 143 respondents share their perspectives on family challenges, childcare needs, and childcare challenges.
- Most respondents’ current and preferred childcare services are private childcare centres, where reliability and safety are the main reasons for choosing said childcare service. In addition to that, affordability is stated as the biggest challenge for the B40 families, while M40 and T20 families struggle more with issues of safety and reliability.
- Notably, Penang saw for the first time an increase in female labour force participation being significantly higher for the 35-39 age cohort than for the 30-34 age cohort, for the year 2021. Whether this is an anomaly or the beginning of a trend remains to be seen.
- Universal accessibility to a diverse range of childcare options contributes to families’ ability to focus on career development, which in turn provides them with financial security and stability, thus ensuring and enhancing a child’s healthy development.
- Women are often the ones who bear the responsibilities of childcare, care work, and domestic duties. This leads to them giving up their careers for the sake of the family. Providing them with access to affordable childcare is the proven way to increase participation of women in the labour force, which in turn undoubtedly benefits the general economy.
- Recommendations made are from the angles of investigating the possibility of increased subsidies, enhancing the safety and reliability of childcare services, forming more public-private partnerships (PPPs), improving the quality and credibility of childcare services, and refining access to information.
Image source: rawpixel @ 123rf
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