The Influence of Affordable Daycare on Women's Empowerment in India

This project will evaluate the impact of affordable childcare in rural Rajasthan, India. The research will focus on mothers' decision-making, freedom of mobility, control over resources, employment status, income, and mental health. The goal is to inform policies to improve the childcare options available to poor Indian households. Like most developing countries, India lacks reliable and affordable daycare for children. Middle- and upper-class Indian families rely on private facilities for their children, giving the government little incentive to improve the public provision of daycare for poorer families. Inadequate daycare services for the poor likely contribute to gender inequality by restricting women's educational and economic opportunities. The project team will assess the impact of a daycare program on mothers and children in rural Rajasthan, a state that performs poorly in terms of women's empowerment in India. Researchers will conduct a rigorous impact evaluation to gain insight into how childcare programs influence women's self-esteem, as well as their role in decision-making, freedom of mobility, control over material resources, employment status, household income, and mental health. The Institute for Health and Social Policy at McGill University will implement this evaluation with the support of the Institute for Financial Management and Research. Both institutions will collaborate closely with Seva Mandir (Rajasthan, India), a local non-governmental organization that provides childcare, nutritional, and educational services. This research is supported under the Growth and Economic Opportunities for Women (GrOW) program. GrOW is a five-year, multi-funder partnership of the United Kingdom's Department for International Development, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and IDRC. With a focus on low-income countries in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, GrOW aims to support policies and interventions that improve women's livelihoods and contribute to societal well-being. One component of the program will support 11 projects addressing barriers to women's economic empowerment and gender gaps in earnings and productivity. This project is among them, selected following a competitive call.

Project ID


Project status


Start Date

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


36 months

IDRC Officer

Alejandra Vargas Garcia

Total funding

CA$ 1,000,171


India, United Kingdom, Canada


Growth and Economic Opportunities for Women

Project Leader

Arijit Nandi


The Royal Institution for the Advancement of Learning/McGill University

Institution Country


Institution Website