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Women's group calls on federal government for a national childcare service

National childcare a common sense response to a changed society — YWCA.

Calver: Early learning and childcare is good for the economy because it helps parents work.Toronto, ON (March 7, 2011): The absence of a national plan for childcare services is a social policy gap that is decades behind reality, says a new report from YWCA Canada, the nation's oldest and largest women's service provider. Educated, Employed and Equal: The Economic Prosperity Case for National Child Care documents quiet revolutions in women's employment and education since the 1970s that have seen women close the gender gap with men in employment numbers and reverse it in higher education. Instead of a national policy creating comprehensive early learning and childcare services, the federal government has left a policy vacuum.

"On the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day, the evidence is in. Women's lives have changed. A national plan for quality, affordable early learning and childcare services is not a luxury, a frill, or a threat to Canadian families," says Paulette Senior, CEO of YWCA Canada. "It's an essential support and needs to become as normal in our social system as public school. Parents need this choice today."

The employment rate for women with children under 3 increased 233 percent between 1976 and 2009, and women moved from 32 percent of university graduates in 1971 to 60 percent by 2006.

  "This is a shocking policy gap. Where is the national policy response to support raising our children?"

"This is a shocking policy gap," says Ann Decter, YWCA Canada's Director of Advocacy and Public Policy. "We've completely ignored the changes in women's daily lives over the last 30 years, and sailed on as if it's still 1975. Women reversed the gender gap in higher education 20 years ago. Women surpassed men in paid employment in 2009. Where is the national policy response to support raising our children?"

"Early learning and childcare is good for the economy because it helps parents work," says Andrea Calver, coordinator of the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care. "The numbers prove it. It's no surprise that provinces are moving forward at differing rates with partial schemes. But without the federal government, the response will be inadequate and patchwork."

"Underfunding of childcare is neglect of low-income families," says City Councillor Janet Davis. "The failure of the federal government to lead development of a national plan for childcare services is a disgrace. Thousands wait for subsidies in Toronto alone. Families are stretched to the bone to cover costs and every year we scramble to save services. Where is the national leadership?"

Educated, Employed and Equal reports that the workforce is increasingly well-educated and more women than men are obtaining university and college educations, making a national plan to ensure comprehensive access to quality, affordable early learning and childcare services essential to Canadian prosperity, a crucial support for children and parents, and a common sense response to a changed society.

Links and sources
  Childcare services decades behind reality, says YWCA Canada: No response to revolution in women's education and employment

Posted: March 10, 2011

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