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    071573

    Child care: meeting the needs of working mothers and their children. Introduction.

    Leonard A; Landers C

    In: Child care: meeting the needs of working mothers and their children, edited by Ann Leonard and Cassie Landers. New York, New York, SEEDS, 1991. 1-4. (SEEDS No. 13)

    The overwhelming majority of women in the world work to make a living. In 1985 the female labor force amounted to 32%. In the developing world industrialization, urbanization, migration, and recession in the 1980's forced women to seek employment. In Ghana over 29% of households are headed by women. In the US 57% of women with children under 6 are employed. In Bangkok, Thailand, 1/3 of mothers were back to work within the 1st year of after childbirth. In Nairobi, Kenya, 25% of mothers were working when their child was 6 months old. Availability of child care is often scarce: in Mexico City during the recession of 1982 mothers were forced to take their child to work, or left them with neighbors or older children. Grandmothers live in only 15% of homes and extended family members in only 10.8%. A serious problem arises when older siblings drop out of school to take care of the young. Organized child care programs vary: in India a nonformal preschool program covers 25% of children aged 3-6. However, inadequate resources often result in operation of only 3-4 hours a day, no provisions for breast feeding, and custodial care instead of nutrition and health benefits. In India mobile creches at construction sites provide child care for female workers. The International Labour Organization fostered the classic factory day care facility, but transportation distances and costs have diminished the popularity of these. The community-supported model in Ethiopia has been successful, and similar projects are tried in Mexico. Child care workers are paid little: in Ecuador trained preschool teachers make 40% of the salary of primary school teachers; and in the US in 1989 they were earning only 30% of the salary of elementary school teachers. Better options for child care are needed for the safe and normal development of children.
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