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Gender Differences in the Relationship between Paid Employment and Informal Care


  • Sara Arber

    (University of Surrey)

  • Jay Ginn

    (National Institute of Social Work, London)


This paper analyses the circumstances under which providing informal care has an adverse impact on paid employment, using data from the 1990 General Household Survey which identified 2,700 informal carers. The relationship between informal caring and employment participation is complex and differs by gender and marital status. Paid employment is lowered for adults providing care within their household. The effect is greater for women than for men, and varies with the closeness of the kin relationship between carer and care-recipient. Women caring for a handicapped child are least likely to be in full-time work. Care for a spouse depresses both men's and women's employment. The effect of caring for a co-resident parent is least for married men and greatest for married women. The assumption that women's increased labour force participation will reduce their availability as informal carers for elderly parents is largely unfounded. This care is mainly for elderly parents living in another household, and is associated with reduced hours of employment but not lower overall rates of employment. The norm of combining paid work and informal caring results in very high total hours of informal and paid work.

Suggested Citation

  • Sara Arber & Jay Ginn, 1995. "Gender Differences in the Relationship between Paid Employment and Informal Care," Work, Employment & Society, British Sociological Association, vol. 9(3), pages 445-471, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:woemps:v:9:y:1995:i:3:p:445-471

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    Cited by:

    1. Thomas Akintayo & Niina Häkälä & Katja Ropponen & Elsa Paronen & Sari Rissanen, 2016. "Predictive Factors for Voluntary and/or Paid Work among Adults in their Sixties," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 128(3), pages 1387-1404, September.
    2. Stephen Drinkwater, 2015. "Informal Caring and Labour Market Outcomes Within England and Wales," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(2), pages 273-286, February.

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