Sharing care obligations in ageing populations

Irena E. Kotowska, Warsaw School of Economics
Marta Styrc, Warsaw School of Economics

Reconciliation of work and family, which is on the top of the European policy agenda, requires adjustments of both sides. Working arrangements need to be compatible with the family life and family responsibilities need to be distributed between gender and over the life course in a way which makes it possible to avoid overburdening in certain life stages. Our paper focuses on family life of people in employment in the EU countries. By use of the data from the Second European Quality of Life Survey 2007 we have analysed how domestic tasks are distributed between men and women. The three-step procedure applied refers to both the subjective and objective measures: (1) descriptive statistics of time spent on unpaid work (domestic work, care and education of children and care for the elderly) and the frequency of doing particular activities, (2) a subjective evaluation of sharing domestic duties, 3) results of regression models of time spent on unpaid work estimated separately for males and females which account for both micro and macro levels determinants. Our results confirm the gender gap in unpaid work in Europe is still substantial and the driving mechanism for it is rather males than females engagement in domestic chores. The subjective evaluation of sharing domestic duties between men and women is consistent with findings from the objective evaluation – in countries where the gender gap is the highest sharing of domestic work and care is also most frequently reported to be not fair. The regression results reveal that the life stage as well as the household characteristics are crucial for the time spent on child care. The overall domestic chores follow the dependencies discovered for the childcare and reinforce the burden. Care for the elderly was more difficult to explain with the chosen set of regressors.

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Presented in Session 87: Gender division of care and domestic work