IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Baby steps: The gender division of childcare during the COVID19 pandemic


  • Almudena Sevilla
  • Sarah Smith


The COVID19 pandemic has caused shocks to the demand for home childcare (with the closure of schools and nurseries) and the supply of home childcare (with many people not working). We collect real-time data on daily lives to document that UK families with young children have been doing the equivalent of a working week in childcare. Women have been doing the greater share, but 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-COVID19 hours is smaller than that for the allocation of pre-COVID19 childcare. However, 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/ 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Almudena Sevilla & Sarah Smith, 2020. "Baby steps: The gender division of childcare during the COVID19 pandemic," Bristol Economics Discussion Papers 20/723, School of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  • Handle: RePEc:bri:uobdis:20/723

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ankita Patnaik, 2019. "Reserving Time for Daddy: The Consequences of Fathers’ Quotas," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 37(4), pages 1009-1059.
    2. Decio Coviello & Andrea Ichino & Nicola Persico, 2015. "The Inefficiency Of Worker Time Use," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 13(5), pages 906-947, October.
    3. Ekberg, John & Eriksson, Rickard & Friebel, Guido, 2013. "Parental leave — A policy evaluation of the Swedish “Daddy-Month” reform," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 131-143.
    4. J. Gimenez-Nadal & Jose Molina, 2014. "Regional unemployment, gender, and time allocation of the unemployed," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 105-127, March.
    5. Adams-Prassl, Abigail, 2020. "The Gender Wage Gap on an Online Labour Market: The Cost of Interruptions," CEPR Discussion Papers 14294, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Wang, Ruiting & Xu, Gang, 2020. "Can child allowances improve fertility in a gender discrimination economy?," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 162-174.
    2. Hennecke, Juliane & Pape, Astrid, 2020. "Suddenly a Stay-at-Home Dad? Short- and Long-Term Consequences of Fathers' Job Loss on Time Investment in the Household," IZA Discussion Papers 13866, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Johnsen, Julian Vedeler & Ku, Hyejin & Salvanes, Kjell G, 2020. "Competition and Career Advancement: The Hidden Costs of Paid Leave," CEPR Discussion Papers 15157, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Dunatchik, Allison & Özcan, Berkay, 2019. "Reducing mommy penalties with daddy quotas," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 103461, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    5. Thomas Høgholm Jørgensen & Jakob Egholt Søgaard, 2021. "Welfare Reforms and the Division of Parental Leave," CESifo Working Paper Series 9035, CESifo.
    6. Fontenay, Sébastien & Tojerow, Ilan, 2020. "Work Disability after Motherhood and How Paternity Leave Can Help," IZA Discussion Papers 13756, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Tamm, Marcus, 2019. "Fathers’ parental leave-taking, childcare involvement and labor market participation," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 184-197.
    8. Choi, Youjin & Holm, Anders & Margolis, Rachel, 2019. "The Effects of Paternity Leave on Parents’ Earnings Trajectories and Earnings Inequality," SocArXiv tx2vh, Center for Open Science.
    9. Derek T. Tharp & Elizabeth J. Parks-Stamm, 2021. "Gender Differences in the Intended Use of Parental Leave: Implications for Human Capital Development," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 42(1), pages 47-60, March.
    10. Karimi, Arizo & Lindahl, Erica & Skogman Thoursie, Peter, 2012. "Labour supply responses to paid parental leave," Working Paper Series 2012:22, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    11. Lídia Farré, 2013. "The Role of Men in the Economic and Social Development of Women: Implications for Gender Equality," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 28(1), pages 22-51, February.
    12. Libertad González Luna & Lidia Farré, 2017. "The effects of paternity leave on fertility and labor market outcomes," Economics Working Papers 1572, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    13. Berlemann, Michael & Christmann, Robin, 2017. "The Role of Precedents on Court Delay - Evidence from a civil law country," MPRA Paper 80057, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. Morales, Marina, 2018. "Can the composition of the family during adolescence influence their future unemployment situation? Evidence for Spain," MPRA Paper 86770, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Gimenez-Nadal, J. Ignacio & Molina, Jose Alberto, 2015. "Health status and the allocation of time: Cross-country evidence from Europe," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 188-203.
    16. Dominic Richardson & UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti, 2018. "Key Findings on Families, Family Policy and the Sustainable Development Goals: Synthesis Report," Papers inorer948, Innocenti Research Report.
    17. Decio Coviello & Luigi Moretti & Giancarlo Spagnolo & Paola Valbonesi, 2018. "Court Efficiency and Procurement Performance," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 120(3), pages 826-858, July.
    18. Cygan-Rehm, Kamila & Kuehnle, Daniel & Riphahn, Regina T., 2018. "Paid parental leave and families’ living arrangements," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 182-197.
    19. Kohara, Miki & Maity, Bipasha, 2021. "The Impact of Work-Life Balance Policies on the Time Allocation and Fertility Preference of Japanese Women," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 60(C).
    20. Coviello, Decio & Ichino, Andrea & Persico, Nicola, 2019. "Measuring the gains from labor specialization," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 103448, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
    • J63 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bri:uobdis:20/723. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Vicky Jackson (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.