Gender Disparities in Caretaking during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Danielle Rhubart

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Women have consistently taken on a larger share of caretaking responsibilities than men in the U.S. This has typically included caretaking of children as well as elderly parents. New data from the Census show that this disparity is continuing during the COVID-19 pandemic. From April 23rd through May 5th, 22% of Census Household Pulse survey respondents reported being out of work for reasons related to COVID-19.  Among those who were not working due to COVID-19, more than 16% of women reported that they were not working because they had to care for children not in school or daycare, compared to less than 5% of men. Ultimately, over 80% of U.S. adults who were not working because they were providing care for children not in school or daycare were women. Women were also more likely than men to report not working because their place of employment was temporarily closed, whereas men were more likely to report not working due to lay off or furlough. While COVID-19 is impacting employment for both men and women, these data show that women’s earnings and employment potential are being disproportionately sidelined by COVID-19 associated caretaking responsibilities.

Figure 1: Among those not Working due to COVID-19, Women Comprise an Overwhelming Share who are not Working because they are Caring for a Child not in School/Daycare
Figure 1: Among those not Working due to COVID-19, Women Comprise an Overwhelming Share who are not Working because they are Caring for a Child not in School/Daycare
Data Source: U.S. Census Household Pulse Survey Data: April 23-May 5, N=74,413 https://www.census.gov/householdpulsedata.
Notes: Percentages are weighted by age, sex, race, ethnicity, and educational attainment.

About the Author
Danielle Rhubart is a Lerner Postdoctoral Scholar in the Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion in the Maxwell School at Syracuse University (dcrhubar@maxwell.syr.edu).

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