Free DP Download 28 May 2020 - BABY STEPS: The gender division of childcare during the COVID19 pandemic
BABY STEPS: The gender division of childcare during the COVID19 pandemic
Almudena Sevilla, Sarah Smith
CEPR DP No. 14804 | May 2020
UK families with young children have been doing the equivalent of a working week in childcare during lockdown, with women doing the greater share. But the allocation of childcare duties has become more equal in households where men are working from home and where they have been furloughed or lost their job. There are also likely to be significant, long-term negative employment effects for parents of young children – and particularly for women.
These are among the findings of a new CEPR study by Almudena Sevilla and Sarah Smith, who study real-time data on daily lives in the UK to document the gender childcare gap. Among the findings:
- For families with young children, lockdown has meant providing many additional hours of childcare – equivalent to a full-time, working week.
- In many cases, these hours have had to be provided in addition to working at work or from home.
- Women have done more of this childcare than men (roughly ten hours a week more).
- Irrespective of their employment status, women working from home have done more childcare than men on furlough or who have lost their job.
- The burden of additional childcare may have damaging long-term consequences for the career prospects of parents with young children – and particularly for women.
- Overall, the gender childcare gap (the difference between the share of childcare done by women and the share done by men) for the additional, post-Covid-19 hours is smaller than that for the allocation of pre-Covid-19 childcare.
- But the amount of additional childcare provided by men is very sensitive to their employment – the allocation has become more equal in households where men are working from home and where they have been furloughed or lost their job.
There are likely to be long-term implications from these changes – potentially negative for the careers of parents of young children; but also, more positively for some families, for sharing the burden of childcare more equally in the future.
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