International Day of the Girl is this month. It’s an important day around the globe that focuses on the value of educating young girls and women across the world. There are some incredible stats that highlight the massive gap in STEM industries between males and females. Female inclusion in a wider range of professions is a crucial conversation to highlight and dedicate time to. 

That said, this post is not about that.

We want to take a moment to highlight a position that women have been, and continue to be, the driving force behind. 

The above list shows jobs where the vast majority of the positions are held by women. They are not small jobs. They are big jobs that deserve more respect and recognition across the board. However, there’s one industry that is not showcased in the above graph—child care providers. Some reports claim 92% of people holding the position are female, surpassing the top spot on this list. On Sittercity, that number is even higher: 97% of the sitters identify as female.

We’ve seen the headlines and research reports about the monetary value of a stay-at-home mom—it’s upwards of $150K. That’s because whether it’s children, special needs, or elderly care, there is a lot of responsibility that goes with caring for another human. If this role went away, society would struggle to “keep the lights on.”

With household demographics shifting, and more mothers entering the workforce than ever before, child care providers are now in a critical position that has not been sufficiently measured. Society is driven by hard economics.

How does one quantify the softer metrics of nurturing future generations? 

In 2017, child care workers averaged a yearly salary of $22,000. For a comparison, in 2017 the average truck driver made $42,000 a year—93% of whom are male. 

By now most people are aware of the gender pay gap disparity. It’s a big, multi-faceted conversation. The mantra “equal pay for equal work” is often heard in these conversations. However, the work that is lead by women has historically been undervalued because women have traditionally excelled in professions that generate softer metrics. 

Businesses are able to assign a value to deliveries being made in a timely manner. Our economy needs child care providers but has not done a good job at assigning a true value to the profession’s contribution to society.

On this International Day of the Girl, we’re thinking about how we can support girls and women. One major step is valuing work driven by women as much as the roles traditionally led by men.

Child care providers are the backbone of a healthy economy.

We owe them, at the very least, taking a moment to think about how their crucial work fits into the larger economic picture.

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