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. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    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. Alison Andrew & Sarah Cattan & Monica Costa Dias & Christine Farquharson & Lucy Kraftman & Sonya Krutikova & Angus Phimister & Almudena Sevilla, 2022. "The gendered division of paid and domestic work under lockdown," Fiscal Studies, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 43(4), pages 325-340, December.
    2. Gimenez-Nadal, José Ignacio & Molina, José Alberto & Sevilla, Almudena, 2021. "Temporal Flexibility, Breaks at Work, and the Motherhood Wage Gap," IZA Discussion Papers 14578, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Eiji Yamamura & Yoshiro Tsustsui, 2021. "School closures and mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic in Japan," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 34(4), pages 1261-1298, October.
    4. Rosenqvist, Olof, 2022. "Reducing the gender gap in parental leave through economic incentives? – Evidence from the gender equality bonus in Sweden," Working Paper Series 2022:22, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    5. Wang, Ruiting & Xu, Gang, 2020. "Can child allowances improve fertility in a gender discrimination economy?," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 162-174.
    6. Giménez-Nadal, José Ignacio & Molina, José Alberto & Velilla, Jorge, 2020. "Should we cheer together? Gender differences in instantaneous well-being during joint and solo activities: An application to COVID-19 lockdowns," GLO Discussion Paper Series 736, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    7. Juliane Hennecke & Astrid Pape, 2022. "Suddenly a stay-at-home dad? Short- and long-term consequences of fathers’ job loss on time investment in the household," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 20(2), pages 579-607, June.
    8. Johnsen, Julian & Ku, Hyejin, 2020. "Competition and Career Advancement: The Hidden Costs of Paid Leave," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 13/2020, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics.
    9. Lídia Farré & Cristina Felfe & Libertad González & Patrick Schneider, 2022. "Changing Gender Norms across Generations: Evidence from a Paternity Leave Reform," Working Papers 1310, Barcelona School of Economics.
    10. Thomas Høgholm Jørgensen & Jakob Egholt Søgaard, 2021. "Welfare Reforms and the Division of Parental Leave," CEBI working paper series 21-09, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. The Center for Economic Behavior and Inequality (CEBI).
    11. Tamm, Marcus, 2019. "Fathers’ parental leave-taking, childcare involvement and labor market participation," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 184-197.
    12. Regmi, Krishna & Wang, Le, 2022. "Maternity Leave," GLO Discussion Paper Series 1184, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    13. Allison Dunatchik & Berkay Özcan, 2019. "Reducing Mommy Penalties with Daddy Quotas," CASE Papers /213, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE.
    14. Del Rey, Elena & Racionero, Maria & Silva, Jose I., 2021. "Labour market effects of reducing the gender gap in parental leave entitlements," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(C).
    15. José Ignacio Giménez-Nadal & José Alberto Molina & Jorge Velilla, 2023. "Should We Cheer Together? Gender Differences in Instantaneous Well-being: An Application to COVID-19 Lockdowns," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 24(2), pages 529-562, February.
    16. Panayiota Lyssiotou & Ruzica Savcic, 2022. "Parents' Time Allocation in Different Phases of the Covid-19 Pandemic: Evidence from the UK and Implications for Gender Equality," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 03-2022, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.
    17. 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.
    18. Fontenay, Sébastien & Tojerow, Ilan, 2020. "Work Disability after Motherhood and How Paternity Leave Can Help," IZA Discussion Papers 13756, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    19. Michele Cantarella & Chiara Strozzi, 2021. "Workers in the crowd: the labor market impact of the online platform economy [An evaluation of instrumental variable strategies for estimating the effects of catholic schooling]," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press and the Associazione ICC, vol. 30(6), pages 1429-1458.
    20. Claudia Hupkau & Barbara Petrongolo, 2020. "Work, Care and Gender during the COVID‐19 Crisis," Fiscal Studies, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 41(3), pages 623-651, September.

    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.

    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. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.