Daycare services and women’s participation in informal employment: a study of Mukuru kwa Njenga
Women’s participation in informal employment is impeded by their perceived roles which include; productive, social and reproductive role. However, day care services present an opportunity to address the productive and reproductive roles. Generally, day care provision in most urban slum settings is highly informal owing to financial obstacles. In Kenya, little attention has been directed to day care provision and its effect on women’s participation in informal employment. The study therefore focused on day care provision and women’s participation in informal employment in MukuruKwaNjenga. The overall research objective of this study was to find out how day care use influences women’s participation in informal employment activities.To achieve the objectives, a household survey involving 60 women, seven key informants for in depth interviews and two focus group discussions were held. This yielded both quantitative and qualitative data. Furthermore, the hypothesis propositions advanced by the study were tested in view of the findings and a relationship drawn. The theoretical approach adopted for the study was used to assess day care as an intervention for the working poor; specifically women in informal employment activities. This proved useful in drawing informed conclusions observed from the study population. Findings established that informal day care is well covered in MukuruKwaNjenga. Utilization of the services by women in informal employment was noted to be high; this can be attributed to flexibility and reasonable cost of the services. The issue of quality was a concern across the zones, because of the nature of the very institution of the centres; unregulated. Despite these concerns, day care presented the most viable option for most mothers. All in all, the ideology of day care in itself is a measure that has in a significant way contributed to women’s participation in informal employment activities. The study advocates for deliberate efforts by all stakeholders in improving the quality of provision of day care in pursuit of enhancing sustainability of participation of women in informal employment services.