Are the gender gaps in informal caregiving intensity and burden closing due to the COVID-19 pandemic? Evidence from the Netherlands
SourceGender, Work and Organization, 28, 5, (2021), pp. 1926-1936
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ RSCR SOC
Gender, Work and Organization
SubjectInequality, cohesion and modernization; Ongelijkheid, cohesie en modernisering
This research note presents findings of changes in the gender gap in informal care provision and caregiver burden during the Spring 2020 COVID-19 lockdown in the Netherlands. Government measures in response to the pandemic strongly restricted informal caregivers in providing help and care to persons with health-related needs. At the same time, formal care was scaled back and informal caregivers' urge to help their loved ones was likely higher than before the pandemic. Generally, women pick up a larger share of informal care and experience more caregiver burden. We assessed whether the COVID-19 pandemic affected the gender gaps in informal caregiving by analyzing unique data on Dutch informal caregivers (N=1,672 caregiving situations in 1,196 respondents). Results showed that women, compared to men, were more likely to have stopped and reduced caregiving, but also to have cared more during the pandemic. Moreover, based on longitudinally comparing levels during and before the lockdown, we found that the gender gap in caregiver burden narrowed down, especially because burden decreased for women. This means that the caregiver burden was more equally distributed among women and men during the Spring 2020 COVID-19 lockdown than before.
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