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Editorial: The Challenges Of Working Mothers, What Are We Doing About It ?

The easy access to the facility ensures that working mothers are able to breastfeed and easily see their child or children. This can only mean increased productivity and efficiency.
24 Mar 2019 04:26
Editorial: The Challenges Of Working Mothers, What Are We Doing About It ?

It’s a fact – Fiji lacks access to childcare facilities.

This isn’t only for the general public but specifically for working mothers. This was noted in a study conducted by the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
IFC is a sister organisation of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group. It is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector in developing countries. The bank group has set two goals for the world to achieve by 2030: end extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity in every country.

The case study found that women in Fiji faced challenges progressing in their careers because childcare was a major concern.
It noted that working mothers would take the initiative to look after their child full-time or take a part-time job instead.
The welfare and safety of the child is priority and always on a mother’s mind.

As part of its study, the International Finance Corporation surveyed at least 7 companies and the childcare issues they faced.
Some of the companies are already working on a financially reliable model to set up their own childcare centres.

Fiji Bureau of Statistics 2017 census show that more men were employed when compared to women. This is from the Labour Force by Town and Gender.
– Labour Force Male – 131265
– Employed Male – 125660
– Labour Force Female – 72030
– Employed Female – 66053

Setting the bar in this area is Fiji’s leading garment manufacturer, Mark One Apparel. Last month it opened a first of its kind for Fiji – an Educational Child Care Service Facility. The facility aims to include mothers who want to work and to also have a safe child care facility for their children at their workplace.

There are over 400 women employed at Mark One Apparel.
The project came about after in-house statistics showed that of the 400 women employees, 20 were absent from work every day due to childcare responsibilities.

The easy access to the facility ensures that working mothers are able to breastfeed and easily see their child or children. This can only mean increased productivity and efficiency.

In addition, the fee of only $5 per day is affordable for all employees of Mark One Apparel. Others are expected to pay $10.

It makes business sense that investment in childcare facilities by companies is good for business.

It is also an indicator of how businesses value the input of women and in turn this will ensure the productivity and efficiency of the business.
This is the way forward for Fiji.

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