DHAKA International Finance Corporation (IFC), a
member of the World Bank Group, today said 77 percent of companies surveyed
in Bangladesh do not yet offer childcare options to their employees �
potentially preventing women from participating equally in the labor force in
According to ILO estimates, unemployment rate of women in Bangladesh is
almost double that of men.
IFC's survey of 306 private sector companies in Bangladesh, including
those from nonprofits, manufacturing, financial services, and information
technology sectors, found that only 23 percent offer childcare options to
their employees, 16 percent plan to, while 61 percent have no plans yet, said
an IFC press release.
Lack of access to good quality, affordable childcare is a major obstacle
to women's participation in the labor force across the world because women
usually bear a disproportionate share of childcare responsibilities.
Studies, including from IFC, suggest that employer-supported childcare can
be a win-win for all � it improves physical and cognitive outcomes for
children, enhances employment opportunities for women, and boosts
productivity and profits for businesses � supporting socio-economic growth.
In Bangladesh, companies with more than 40 female employees are legally
required to offer childcare options. IFC conducted the survey to better
understand the opportunities and challenges that companies face in the
country, aiming to raise awareness that the benefits of employer-supported
childcare outweigh the cost of implementing it.
Since 2017, IFC has produced several reports on childcare, including from
India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, highlighting the innovative approaches that
companies have taken to provide childcare.
Employers that provide childcare attract and retain quality employees,
most pointedly women employees. Employer-sponsored childcare and family-
friendly workplace policies can benefit families, businesses, and the
economy, said Wendy Werner, IFC Country Manager for Bangladesh, Bhutan and
The IFC's survey results point towards a strong business case for
employer-supported childcare and incorporate recommendations for the private,
public, and development sectors to boost employer-supported childcare in the
The survey, conducted between May and July, was funded by the Canadian
government and developed after consultations with over 75 employees and 40
stakeholders, including government representatives and care providers.
The research was conducted in collaboration with LightCastle Partners;
international organizations ILO/IFC Better Work Bangladesh, UNICEF
Bangladesh, UN Global Compact Bangladesh, and the World Bank; industry
associations Bangladesh Association of Call Center & Outsourcing, Bangladesh
Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, Bangladesh Leasing and
Finance Companies Association, and Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry,
including Business Initiative Leading Development; care providers BRAC
Institute of Education Development and Phulki; Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park
Authority; the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs and Bangladesh Shishu
Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)