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Care responsibilities and women's leadership

Briefing/policy papers

Written by Rebecca Holmes, Emma Samman, Pilar Domingo, Nicola Jones

A ‘hidden’ childcare crisis is having severe implications on generations of women across the world, often constraining them from realising their full potential in different political and economic activities. While women are increasingly represented in political institutions, albeit with limited access to leadership positions, a lack of access to childcare may impede their greater involvement and limit prospects for advances in care-related policies. 

This ODI Insights policy brief brings together two key areas of research by the Overseas Development Institute: childcare, and women’s voice and leadership.

The first focuses on the current childcare crisis – examining who is caring for children around the world and the surrounding policy environment. The second focuses on what enables women’s voice and leadership, their capacity for influencing decision-making processes – and the effects on the advancement of gender equality, including on care agendas.

The authors’ aim is to explore the overlap between these two areas and to identify the policy implications that stem from this joint focus. This is important for easing care-related constraints to enable the fuller participation of women in public life and to expand the opportunities and incentives for women (and men) to advance a care-related agenda, particularly one that supports poor and marginalised women and girls.

Rebecca Holmes, Emma Samman, Pilar Domingo and Nicola Jones