Principal Investigators: Arijit Nandi (McGill University), Sam Harper (McGill University), Parul Agarwal (IFMR), Shannon Maloney(IFMR)
Research Team: Anoushaka Chandrashekar (IFMR)
LEAD Centre: Centre for Microfinance (CMF)
Focus Area: Livelihoods
Project Geography: Rajasthan, India
Partner: SevaMandir
Status: Ongoing


There are structural barriers to women’s empowerment in India. Among these barriers is the lack of affordable and reliable day-care services. The responsibility of providing childcare is imposed primarily on women and contributes to gender inequalities experienced by women over the life-course. The provision of affordable and reliable day-care services is a potentially important policy lever for empowering Indian women. Access to day-care might reduce barriers to labor force entry and generate economic opportunities for women. However, empirical evidence concerning the effects of day-care programs in low-and-middle-income countries is scarce. We conduct a cluster-randomized impact evaluation to estimating the effect of access to a community-based day-care program on empowerment, economic opportunity, and health among mothers living in rural Rajasthan, India.

This study partners with SevaMandir, a large NGO operating across southern Rajasthan. SevaMandir operates Balwadis, or day care centers, on a full-day basis in high need communities.It is funded by IDRC GrOW Program and has been made possible by this initiative. Through this partnership, the study will offer access to Balwadis to 80 communities, identified through a random procedure. Another 80 communities will serve as a control group. The study will observe changes in economic outcomes, empowerment and health for women and children living in these communities. This interdisciplinary research initiative will address an important research gap and has the potential to inform policies for improving the day-care system in India in ways that promote inclusive economic growth.

Related Resources

PROJECT DESCRIPTION : The influence of affordable daycare on women’s empowerment in India
PROJECT BRIEF : The Influence of Affordable Day Care on Women’s Empowerment in India
WEBSITE : International Development Research Centre
SHORT FILM : What is a Balwadi?
FACTSHEET : Affordable Day-Care to Empower Women in India