Gender, work and care in policy and practice: Working mothers’ experience of intergenerational exchange of care in South Korea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

200 Downloads (Pure)


This article aims to uncover working mothers’ experiences in relation to intergenerational exchange of care and support in South Korea. It examines the impact of Confucian gender ideology on the operation of intergenerational reciprocity within the Korean family. Increasing numbers of working mothers make intergenerational exchange of care between working mothers and their family members an important issue. Although studies have focused on the importance of the Confucian virtue of filial piety in intergenerational support, little research has explored the influence of Confucian gender ideology on working mothers’ experiences of intergenerational exchange from a gender perspective. This article aims to fill this research gap by exploring the experiences of Korean working mothers in the intergenerational exchange of care. It draws on qualitative semi-structured interviews with 30 married women in paid employment in Seoul, Korea, carried out in 2014. This article argues that traditional gender expectations of married women’s responsibility for parents-in-law persist regarding intergenerational reciprocity, despite recent development of policies for care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)589-608
Number of pages20
JournalCritical Social Policy
Issue number3
Early online date12 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - 01 Aug 2018



  • Confucian culture, gender ideology, gender inequality, intergenerational exchange, working mothers

Cite this