Gender, family and community: young children

There are few resources that focus exclusively on gender and early childhood development. For the most part, gender is included as part of a wider programme such as education for all and the importance of access to education for young girls, and other marginalised groups. However, a large proportion of the resources focus on the role of family and community and their interaction with the young child. For example, some programmes outline the need to highlight the role of the grandmother as promoter of health and nutrition in the young child. A more specific gender-orientated case study outlines the Indonesian experience of gender perspectives in early childhood care and development. This empirical research study shows that although the socialisation of girls is different to that of boys in childrearing practices and family relationships in Indonesia, there is no difference in terms of infant mortality or nutrition between girls and boys.

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Selected resources

Books, reports, etc

Gender perspectives in early childhood care and development in Indonesia


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The Co-ordinators' Notebook, published by The Consultative Group on Early Childhood Care and Development, provides a synthesis of the most recent information on topics of interest to people concerned about the well-being of young children and their families. This issue focuses on gender perspectives in early childhood care and development in Indonesia. It is a synopsis of an empirical research study. Although it focuses mainly on Javanese values and beliefs, two other ethnic groups are mentioned: the Minang family from West Sumatra and the Minahasan family from North Sulawesi. The researcher concluded that the socialisation of girls is different to that of their male counterparts, but on equal terms. In fact, indicators such as infant mortality and nutrition suggest that girls are better off than boys, but there is no clear reason for this (for instance differential breastfeeding, food distribution and care during illness). The researcher concludes the report verifying the widely accepted notion of the high status of women in Indonesian society

State of the world's mothers 2008 : closing the survival gap for children under 5

May 2008

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This report shows which countries are succeeding - and which are failing - to deliver basic health care to the mothers and children who need it most. It examines where the health care gaps between the poorest and best-off children are widest, and where they are smallest. It also looks at the survival gaps between the rich and poor children in developing countries, and shows how millions of children’s lives could be saved by ensuring all children get essential, low-cost health care

The Cynon Valley Project : investigating in the future

October 1999

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This project was implemented in two communities in the Cynon Valley in Wales, UK. Although the work started in both communities at the same time and under similar conditions, the two communities developed in different directions. The study shows how communities must have the means and the flexibility to pull themselves and push others in order to develop in the direction that they decide is important

Journal articles

Culturally or contextually appropriate?


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This edition of Early Childhood Matters is centred on an analysis of culturally relevant approaches in early childhood development undertaken by the Bernard Van Leer Foundation. The objective was to learn from the accumulated experiences of 11 projects. One aim was to explore how projects that work in culturally appropriate ways can pay special attention in their work with children and parents to factors such as language, cultural norms, childrearing practices and family relationships. The second aim was to highlight the ways in which projects working in different contexts handle relationships between cultures. The geographic spread covered Australia, Botswana, Malaysia, The Netherlands, USA, Colombia, Israel and the Palestinian Autonomous region. The chosen projects worked with indigenous peoples in their traditional settings, with migrants and in multi-ethnic environments

From crèches to childcare : constructions of motherhood and inclusion/exclusion in the history of Belgian infant care


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This article by Michel Vandenbroeck examines the history of exclusion in Belgian infant care, depicting how 100 years ago day care centres provided care for the infants of women who worked in factories. Today in Belgium, women who work in factories are excluded from having infants cared for in day nurseries. The article examines how this has occurred and the place of childcare in western European welfare society

Grandmothers promote maternal and child health : the role of indigenous knowledge systems' managers

February 2006

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IK Notes report on indigenous knowledge initiatives in sub-Saharan Africa and occasionally on such initiatives outside the region. It is published by the World Bank Africa region's Knowledge and Learning Centre as part of an evolving partnership between the World Bank, communities, NGOs, development institutions and multilateral organisations. This edition outlines the role of grandmothers as 'managers' of indigenous knowledge systems that deal with the development, care and well being of women and their children. The paper outlines a rationale for involving grandmothers in community programmes based around child and maternal health, and nutrition


Coram Family Trust


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Coram Community Campus
49 Mecklenburgh Square
London WC1N 2QA

Coram Family is a leading children's charity that aims to develop and promote best practice in the care of vulnerable children and their families. It has a reputation for pioneering work in difficult areas. It works to bring about significant improvements in the emotional health and life prospects of children and young people who have experienced trauma and family breakdown, or who are vulnerable and at risk. Its work currently supports children and young people in the care system and families and children in local communities. A number of its services are for children and young people who have experienced trauma and dislocation and are already separated from their families. These include adoption, child contact service and housing & support services. Increasingly its new work is supporting children and families in order to prevent later difficulties and promote positive outcomes. It promotes children's rights and challenges discrimination, as well as promoting children's emotional health and well being through exploring the role of the creative arts in children's lives, particularly for those who are experiencing difficulties