CONNECT
search advanced search
UNICEF Innocenti
Office of Research-Innocenti
search menu

Family-friendly policies in South Asia

Family-friendly policies in South Asia

Author(s)

Jennifer Waidler; Bindu Sunny; Gwyther Rees

 

Publication date: 2021-05

Publication series:
Innocenti Working Papers

Download the report

(PDF, 1.20 MB)(PDF, 1.11 MB)

Abstract

Bringing up children requires care, time and resources. Yet, too often, all over the world, parents and other primary caregivers are left to struggle with this fundamental task without enough support. The burden of responsibility tends to fall disproportionately on women. Often parents have to make impossible choices between earning enough money for their family and giving children the care that they need.

The concept of ‘family-friendly policies’ has emerged as a way of thinking about and addressing these issues. There is no agreed definition of the concept, but it is generally conceived as a set of policies that help parents/caregivers to reconcile various aspects of work and family life. Such policies may differ from one region and location to another depending on, amongst other things: demographics, including the definition of what a family is, and its function; the characteristics of the labour market and the workplace; the social and cultural context, including attitudes, expectations and norms; and the economic context.

 This paper addresses the issue of what family-friendly policies could look like in the South Asian context, where female labor force participation is very low and more than 90 per cent of workers are in the informal sector or under informal employment. It considers how these policies can be responsive to the particular characteristics and circumstances of countries in the region – including multi-generation families, family units built around adolescent mothers (and sometimes fathers), and migration for work both within and outside countries. It also tackles the question of how family-friendly policies might need to evolve in the face of the COVID-19 crisis.

By taking an equity approach to family friendly policies, we provide recommendations on how to reach families in different situations and facing different degrees of vulnerabilities, including those not working or working under very difficult circumstances.

Available in:
English

More in this series: Innocenti Working Papers

How relaxing develops and affects well-being throughout childhood
Publication Publication

How relaxing develops and affects well-being throughout childhood

From a developmental perspective, skills or capacities, such as ‘relaxing’, are commonly considered necessary for children to achieve optimal development and reach their full potential. From this perspective ‘relaxing’ can be considered a capacity that could help children to cope with emotional and behavioural problems and lower their levels of stress and anxiety. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first attempt to map the existing evidence of cultivating ‘relaxing’ as a key core capacity with an explicit focus on children, and understand age-related development, links to wellbeing and other core capacities, and the levels and application of ‘relaxing’ among significant adults in children’s lives. These contributions will help inform real, positive and efficient changes in general policies and practices for child development.
How listening develops and affects well-being throughout childhood
Publication Publication

How listening develops and affects well-being throughout childhood

Drawing from a multidisciplinary evidence base, what is the empirical and theoretical knowledge of children’s listening and how does it interact with overall well-being throughout childhood? This review study is a first attempt to map the existing theoretical and empirical literature about a possible core capacity for well-being: listening. It focuses on the development of listening throughout childhood, listening in formal and informal learning, listening in family and community settings, and possible links between listening and well-being. Relevant empirical studies were identified that further explain the development of listening comprehension throughout childhood. Relevant streams of literature identified included listening to music and positive effects on child wellbeing, children’s extensive listening in schools, and the effects of undesirable listening environments.
How observing develops and affects well-being throughout childhood
Publication Publication

How observing develops and affects well-being throughout childhood

This study maps map the empirical and theoretical evidence of children’s ability for ‘observing’ or ‘noticing’ as a core capacity for life within the Learning for Well-Being Foundation’s theoretical framework, and how it interacts with overall child development. More specifically, this review aims to contribute to existing knowledge in three ways: (i) it adds to the evidence of ‘observing’ as a core capacity for children from a childhood development perspective, (ii) it assesses the interaction of ‘observing’ with other core capacities and with overall child well-being, and (iii) it looks at the development of ‘observing’ as a core capacity among significant adults in children’s lives (e.g., teachers, educators, parents). Although the available evidence is limited, results show a significant link between children’s levels of observation or attention and cognitive skills in general, such as working memory and executive attention.
How reflecting develops and affects well-being throughout childhood
Publication Publication

How reflecting develops and affects well-being throughout childhood

Reflecting, or thinking about one’s own thinking, is understood by the Learning for Well-Being Foundation as one of the possible core capacities which may influence well-being in children. This study explores the academic literature for theoretical and empirical evidence in support of this conceptualization. Drawing from a multidisciplinary evidence base, what is the empirical and theoretical evidence of children’s reflecting and how does it interact with overall well-being throughout childhood? The objectives of the review are to map the evidence of the development of reflecting in children, describe possible gaps in the literature and search whether any studies explore reflecting as a core capacity, or study the relationship between reflecting and child well-being. In doing so this paper focuses on the possibly diverse development of the core capacity in children, on the capacity in parents, teachers and other caregivers and the role they play in the development of the core capacity, and on the evidence from the academic literature.