Making a Case for Investment in Universal Childcare in Barbados


This report makes an argument for public investment in universal childcare in Barbados; specifically, it explores the potential effects and benefits of investing in universal childcare. Effective provision of universal childcare is defined as one that eliminates barriers to equitable access and participation.

In recent years, there has been substantial effort to increase public childcare provision in Barbados.  The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has led to a re-emergence of discussion about the need for affordable, high-quality childcare. Many parents struggle with the increased demands of childcare and paid employment brought about by government-imposed measures, such as school closures and ‘stay at home’ orders. Universal childcare does not necessarily mean achieving full coverage, but implies making childcare accessible to all children whose parents wish for them to participate. Universal childcare should not be equated with free childcare or even compulsory childcare, rather it suggests that an effective universal childcare service eliminates barriers to equitable access and participation.

The study was carried out with funding support by UN Women and the Joint SDG Fund.

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Bibliographic information

Geographic coverage: Latin America and the Caribbean Barbados

Subject areas: Children’s rights Gender data production and collection Gender equality and women’s empowerment Social protection Unpaid work

Resource type(s): Research papers Guidance notes

UN Women office publishing: Multi-Country Office – Caribbean

Publishing entity/ies: United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women)