Has a New Age of Post Pandemic Work Arrangements Allowed Parents to More Equally Share Childcare Chores?

Bernice Kuang , University of Southampton
Brienna Perelli-Harris, University of Southampton
Ann M. Berrington, University of Southampton

The onset of the covid-19 pandemic brought new, radical, large-scale changes in work, including the normalisation of and increases in working from home. These changes may present a new opportunity to renegotiate work-life balance, including childcare allocation between couples, raising questions about how childcare has changed within families. Childcare has been persistently gendered, with women performing more than men, even in crisis situations such as covid-19 lockdowns and even when they also engage in paid work. Pre-covid, the gendering of childcare has been studied from social policy, time use, and routine versus nonroutine/enrichment perspectives, but less specific attention has been given to the individual chores of childcare (i.e. dropping children off at school or nursery, putting children to bed, staying home with children when they are ill). The gender division of these aspects of childcare may vary by type of chore and may be particularly influenced by who in the household works full time or part time, and who can work from home and who has to travel to their place of work. We ask, 1) How are different kinds of childcare chores divided by gender? 2) Does the gender division of childcare chores vary with the couples’ household work arrangements? and 3) How does working from home change these associations? We use the first ever UK Generations and Gender Survey (2022-23) which contains uniquely detailed data on the division of individual childcare chores and working arrangements of the respondents and their partners, focusing on heterosexual partners with young children.

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 Presented in Session 89. Childcare