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NEWS: Women and Equalities Committee report on gendered impacts of Covid-19

As part of the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee's ongoing inquiry into the unequal impacts of Covid-19, the Committee has today published its report on one of its sub-inquiries, 'Unequal impact? Coronavirus and the gendered economic impact' which sets out how the economic impacts of the pandemic have affected women and men disproportionately.

Given that it is a heavily female-dominated industry, the report covers a section on the economic effects on the childcare sector. PACEY is proud to have submitted evidence for this in writing and orally as a representative for the early years and childcare sector. You can read PACEY’s written submission here.

Using evidence from PACEY and others, the report outlines how the long-standing existing issues around financial difficulty and workforce and recruitment challenges were exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic and insufficient financial support for the sector from the Government.

The Committee gives its recommendation for supporting a gender equal recovery for the sector:

“We recommend the Government publish, by June 2021, an early years strategy which sets out how childcare provision can best support not only working parents, but also those who are job-seeking and re-training. The review must also consider the feasibility of extending eligibility for free childcare provision for children under the age of three years.”

Liz Bayram, Chief Executive at PACEY comments:
“We are pleased to have contributed to this important inquiry and wholeheartedly support the Committee’s call for an early years strategy. Throughout the pandemic the dedicated and overwhelmingly female workforce has supported the children of others, often working at desperately low wages whilst balancing risk to their and their families’ health.

“Too many practitioners have been excluded from financial support and left feeling like the forgotten sector whilst counterparts in schools and maintained nurseries got access to government grants, PPE and home testing. For too many providers, especially those in areas of deprivation, the impacts of the pandemic is going to have a lasting impact one their service and the women and children who rely upon them. It may push many settings into closure and leave others struggling to deliver the high quality early education our children deserve.”