Early years ready

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As I sit at the Scottish Human Rights Commission’s launch of planning for Scotland’s national human rights action plan, I am much struck by several points in Lesley Riddoch’s excellent article about investment in “shovel-ready” projects (Perspective, 10 December).

Where and when does talk become action in governments at local and national level? I suggest that it is in the spend of our budgets – our priorities are made clear when the dosh gets handed out and collected.

On Human Rights Day 2012, I suggest we remind ourselves of the big picture that this moment in history provides us: we have consensus on the need for investment in early years, we have some cash, and we have ample evidence that women are more likely to reinvest their income in their families and communities.

Why not use this window of opportunity to invest appropriately to pull us out of recession while acting like women’s and children’s rights are human rights? Why not, as Riddoch recommends, invest in childcare, or as I like to call them, “early years-ready” projects?

In October, Engender spent some time with United Nations officials in Geneva at the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women pre-session working group.

We discussed the Scottish Government’s reference to childcare as “infrastructure” with UN officials – they are watching with interest. Let’s do something interesting.

(Dr) Marsha Scott

Engender convener

Haddington Place