Gender and the pandemic: Associations between caregiving, working from home, personal and career outcomes for women and men

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Abstract

The coronavirus pandemic lockdowns have led to an increase of caregiving and household responsibilities for many employees while working from home. We aimed to investigate whether there was a gender imbalance in the division of household labour within families during the pandemic, and whether this imbalance was associated with gender differences in personal outcomes (work-family conflict, burnout) as well as career-related outcomes (career self-efficacy and aspirations). Participants were 240 heterosexual individuals with or without caregiving responsibilities who lived with a partner and worked from home during the pandemic. They completed self-report questionnaires and indicated the division of domestic tasks within their household, the extent to which they experienced burnout and work-family conflict, and their career aspirations and career self-efficacy. The findings showed a significant gender imbalance, such that female caregivers spent significantly less time on work compared to the other groups and significantly more time on caregiving compared to male caregivers during the lockdown. There was a significant direct effect of caregiving on career outcomes for women, such that the more caregiving women performed during the lockdown relative to other tasks, the more negative their self-reported career outcomes were. Among men, caregiving did not predict career outcomes. Overall, our study showed that the gender imbalance in distributions of caregiving duties during the pandemic is associated with negative personal and professional outcomes for women who are caregivers. Practical implications are discussed accounting for this gender imbalance in the context of the pandemic and its influence on wellbeing and career outcomes, particularly for heterosexual women.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent Psychology
Early online date30 Dec 2021
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online date - 30 Dec 2021

Keywords

  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • Gender
  • work-family conflict
  • Caregiving
  • Career aspirations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Social Psychology

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