Special Issue "Family, Work and Welfare: A Gender Lens on COVID-19"

A special issue of Social Sciences (ISSN 2076-0760). This special issue belongs to the section "Social Policy".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2021).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. María José González
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Political and Social Sciences, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27 08005, Barcelona, Spain
Interests: family sociology; gender inequalities; childhood; family policies; social inequalities

Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

The aim of this Special Issue is to present papers relevant for understanding the effect of the public health emergency generated by COVID-19 on gender inequalities and family relations, in order to help social scientists better address emerging challenges for contemporary families. The pandemic has been signaled for exacerbating gender inequalities and increasing domestic violence. These suspicions have encouraged many social scientists to rush to obtain real-time data on how people are responding to this unfolding circumstance.

We especially invite submissions on the following topics, among others:

- New gender inequalities in time use during confinement;

- Domestic violence;

- Economic impact of COVID-19 for working women;

- Gender and health inequalities;

- Gender differences in attending to the educational needs of children at home;

- Care of dependent relatives;

- Solidarity networks of care.

Dr. María José González
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Social Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Covid-19
  • Gender inequalities
  • Housework
  • Care
  • Violence
  • Welfare

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

Article
Homeschooling during COVID-19: Gender Differences in Work–Family Conflict and Alcohol Use Behaviour among Romantic Couples
Soc. Sci. 2021, 10(7), 240; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10070240 - 23 Jun 2021
Viewed by 1098
Abstract
Homeschooling due to COVID-19 school closures is likely to increase conflict between work and family demands, potentially leading to adverse substance-use effects. We conducted a survey with 758 couples focusing on homeschooling, work–family conflict, and alcohol use (April 2020). The 211 homeschooling couples [...] Read more.
Homeschooling due to COVID-19 school closures is likely to increase conflict between work and family demands, potentially leading to adverse substance-use effects. We conducted a survey with 758 couples focusing on homeschooling, work–family conflict, and alcohol use (April 2020). The 211 homeschooling couples reported more work–family conflict than the 547 non-homeschooling couples; there also were stronger effects on family interference with work in women. Among the homeschooling couples, homeschooling hours were associated with greater partner drinking. In distinguishable dyad analyses by gender, women’s hours homeschooling were associated with greater drinking frequency by both parents. Men’s hours homeschooling were associated with lower drinking frequency in their partners. Increased work–family conflict in homeschooling couples is particularly worrisome given its link to increased stress and poor mental health. Moreover, women’s increased drinking may impede their ability to support their families during the pandemic. Men’s increased drinking could put homeschooling mothers at risk for escalating conflict/domestic violence, given links of male drinking to intimate partner violence. Finally, the protective-partner effects of men’s homeschooling hours on women’s drinking frequency suggests that more egalitarian division of homeschooling labor may have protective cross-over effects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Family, Work and Welfare: A Gender Lens on COVID-19)
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Article
The Reshaping of Daily Time during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Lone Parent’s Work-Family Articulation in a Low-Intensity Lockdown
Soc. Sci. 2021, 10(7), 239; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10070239 - 23 Jun 2021
Viewed by 692
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic and related restrictions have triggered simultaneous changes across multiple life domains within a very short timeframe. This major shock has seriously challenged the ability of families to adapt to unanticipated changes over which they had little control. Switzerland instigated a [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic and related restrictions have triggered simultaneous changes across multiple life domains within a very short timeframe. This major shock has seriously challenged the ability of families to adapt to unanticipated changes over which they had little control. Switzerland instigated a low-intensity lockdown in response to COVID-19 in the spring of 2020. The resulting alterations to family life included changes to employment situations and working conditions (such as layoffs, temporary unemployment and home-based work) and the need to arrange home-schooling and childcare. This study examines how a sample of individuals with a trajectory of lone parenthood living in French-speaking Switzerland adapted their everyday lives to accommodate the shifting demands in the domains of employment and family responsibilities. Interviews were conducted between April and June 2020 for the longitudinal project “The multiple paths of lone parenthood”. Using this data, we analysed the COVID-related changes to work and family life, focusing on their time structuring. We found that parents who remained employed faced the greatest time pressures, although their experiences varied significantly depending on the adaptability of their work schedules, as well as the child(ren)’s age(s) and degree of autonomy. Home-based work and home-schooling resulted in more flexible schedules, although parents with the greatest work and family demands sought more time-structured organisation to facilitate their articulation. Social support was a crucial buffer for parents with conflicting demands across domains. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Family, Work and Welfare: A Gender Lens on COVID-19)
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Article
Difficult Times: The Division of Domestic Work under Lockdown in France
Soc. Sci. 2021, 10(6), 219; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10060219 - 09 Jun 2021
Viewed by 955
Abstract
The lockdowns enforced in many countries to contain the spread of COVID-19 had important consequences for the domestic sphere. This paper analyzes the division of domestic work among heterosexual couples in France during the lockdown. In particular, we analyzed the role of time [...] Read more.
The lockdowns enforced in many countries to contain the spread of COVID-19 had important consequences for the domestic sphere. This paper analyzes the division of domestic work among heterosexual couples in France during the lockdown. In particular, we analyzed the role of time constraints and availability and expected to find a more egalitarian division of domestic work among couples in which the man had more time than his partner due to not working or working from home. We used data from the ELIPSS panel, a representative survey of the French population, and ran OLS regressions on the division of domestic work among 406 couples. The results show that men’s time availability was associated with a more egalitarian division of domestic work, even if gender inequalities persisted. However, we did not find any clear differences between men who did not work and men who worked from home, leading us to hypothesize that men’s presence at home is an important factor. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Family, Work and Welfare: A Gender Lens on COVID-19)
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Article
The Fragility of Women’s Work Trajectories in Chile
Soc. Sci. 2021, 10(5), 148; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10050148 - 23 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1359
Abstract
How are the work trajectories of Chilean women? This qualitative study analyzes the female work trajectories through interviews and biograms in a sample of 50 Chilean women, professionals and non-professionals, between the ages of 24 and 88. The article proposes an original typology [...] Read more.
How are the work trajectories of Chilean women? This qualitative study analyzes the female work trajectories through interviews and biograms in a sample of 50 Chilean women, professionals and non-professionals, between the ages of 24 and 88. The article proposes an original typology of female work trajectories and relates type of work trajectory with Piore’s theory of labor market segmentation. The paper discusses the challenges and weaknesses of the Chilean women’s labor outcome and presents recent data to extrapolate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on vulnerable work trajectories. It considers the type of State and possible actions to achieve greater welfare and social development regarding gender equality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Family, Work and Welfare: A Gender Lens on COVID-19)
Article
Between Social Protests and a Global Pandemic: Working Transitions under the Economic Effects of COVID-19
Soc. Sci. 2021, 10(4), 145; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10040145 - 20 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1617
Abstract
Emerging research on the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic draws attention to the labor effects of the crisis in the Global South. Developing countries show high levels of labor informality, where most workers cannot work from home and depend on daily income. [...] Read more.
Emerging research on the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic draws attention to the labor effects of the crisis in the Global South. Developing countries show high levels of labor informality, where most workers cannot work from home and depend on daily income. In addition, the scarce and late state aid makes it difficult for workers to cope with the economic hardships caused by the pandemic. This research explores the employment trajectories of workers throughout the ongoing pandemic in Chile: a neoliberal country with a strong male breadwinner culture and high levels of income inequality. Using longitudinal non-probabilistic data for Chilean employment, this study finds that men lost their jobs to a lesser extent and returned to the labor market faster than women. Likewise, male workers with family (with a partner and young children) remained employed in a higher proportion than female workers with family, and most of these women shifted from employment into care work. The existing literature already pointed out how economic crises can have adverse effects on progress towards gender equality, and the current economic crisis seems to be no exception. Labor informality and low-skilled jobs were highly related to unemployment during the first months of COVID in Chile. These are important variables in a developing economy such as Chile, where around one-third of the population works under these conditions. This article concludes by reflecting on the importance of addressing the present crisis and future economic recovery with a gender perspective. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Family, Work and Welfare: A Gender Lens on COVID-19)
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Article
Mothers’ Accounts of Attending to Educational and Everyday Needs of Their Children at Home during COVID-19: The Case of the UAE
Soc. Sci. 2021, 10(4), 141; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10040141 - 15 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1168
Abstract
From March 2020 until July 2020, the UAE implemented mandatory distance learning due to COVID-19, which meant that children had to continue their learning remotely at home. Though schools concerted exemplary efforts to ensure that children received all that was necessary through advanced [...] Read more.
From March 2020 until July 2020, the UAE implemented mandatory distance learning due to COVID-19, which meant that children had to continue their learning remotely at home. Though schools concerted exemplary efforts to ensure that children received all that was necessary through advanced technology platforms and interfaces, the duty of ensuring that children continued to engage in successful learning fell solely on parents. This paper is based on a self-report study conducted during this first period of distance learning where parents were invited to anonymously complete a survey and then be interviewed. The paper relies on interviews as its main data source. Interview transcripts once transcribed were thematically analysed. One recurring theme in the data was gender differences in domestic and other duties as well as attending to the educational needs of children. Mothers, irrespective of cultural or educational background, disproportionately seemed to be the caretakers of the home and of children’s educational needs. Mothers spoke of their mental health concerns, pressures of time management, and negative effects on their own work. This paper makes an original contribution by exploring parental experiences of emergency remote learning and what these reflect about parental ethnotheories in the UAE. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Family, Work and Welfare: A Gender Lens on COVID-19)
Article
A Missed Opportunity for Men? Partnered and Employed Individuals’ Involvement with Housework during the COVID-19 Lockdown in the UK
Soc. Sci. 2021, 10(4), 135; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10040135 - 13 Apr 2021
Viewed by 1128
Abstract
Given the outbreak of the coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), pandemic during March 2020, lockdown measures taken by governments have forced many families, especially those who have children, to re-arrange domestic and market work division. In this study, I investigate the factors associated with partnered [...] Read more.
Given the outbreak of the coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), pandemic during March 2020, lockdown measures taken by governments have forced many families, especially those who have children, to re-arrange domestic and market work division. In this study, I investigate the factors associated with partnered and employed individuals’ involvement with housework during the COVID-19 lockdown in the United Kingdom. Drawing evidence from the first wave of the Covid-19 Survey from the Five National Longitudinal Studies dataset with using OLS regressions, this study found that daily working hours, socioeconomic status, and partner’s key worker status are important indicators of daily time spent on housework. Furthermore, interaction analysis showed that women living with a key worker partner not only did more housework than women whose partner was working in a regular job, but they also did more housework than men living with a key worker partner during the lockdown. Policy implications of regulating maximum daily working hours and key worker status are discussed in the context of re-arranging paid and unpaid work between couples during the first lockdown in the United Kingdom. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Family, Work and Welfare: A Gender Lens on COVID-19)
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Article
Gender Differences in the Mitigating Effect of Co-Parenting on Parental Burnout: The Gender Dimension Applied to COVID-19 Restrictions and Parental Burnout Levels
Soc. Sci. 2021, 10(4), 127; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10040127 - 31 Mar 2021
Viewed by 1436
Abstract
Parenting is recognized as a complex and stressful activity, which in recent years has been linked to the potential development of parental burnout among mothers and fathers. With the spread of COVID-19 around the globe, not only have situations of health emergency and [...] Read more.
Parenting is recognized as a complex and stressful activity, which in recent years has been linked to the potential development of parental burnout among mothers and fathers. With the spread of COVID-19 around the globe, not only have situations of health emergency and economic difficulty emerged, but also tremendous impacts on individual lives and family role divisions, which continue to be experienced today. As lockdown measures have affected unemployment rates, financial insecurity levels, social support, amount of leisure time, and the number of caring responsibilities, parents are expected to be at higher risk for developing parental burnout. Co-parenting is presented as a factor which can mitigate the effect between COVID-19 lockdown measures and the levels of experienced parental burnout. Nevertheless, we argue that the role of co-parenting in association with the implications of COVID-19 on parental stress differs between men and women. As parenthood remains an activity that is largely gender-based, co-parenting is hypothesized to be of more crucial importance in attenuating the effect between COVID-19 lockdown measures and parental burnout for fathers in comparison to mothers. Our results confirm previous findings that COVID-19 has increased levels of parental burnout. The relationship between state-imposed COVID-19 lockdown measures and levels of parental burnout was not found to be significantly affected by co-parenting. However, when assessing this two-way interaction separately for men and women, we saw that this mitigating effect was significant for fathers and non-significant for mothers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Family, Work and Welfare: A Gender Lens on COVID-19)
Article
Gender Matters: A Gender Analysis of Healthcare Workers’ Experiences during the First COVID-19 Pandemic Peak in England
Soc. Sci. 2021, 10(2), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10020043 - 27 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3042
Abstract
The coronavirus (COVID-19) arrived in the United Kingdom (UK) in February 2020, placing an unprecedented burden on the National Health Service (NHS). Literature from past epidemics and the COVID-19 pandemic underscores the importance of using a gender lens when considering policy, experiences, and [...] Read more.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) arrived in the United Kingdom (UK) in February 2020, placing an unprecedented burden on the National Health Service (NHS). Literature from past epidemics and the COVID-19 pandemic underscores the importance of using a gender lens when considering policy, experiences, and impacts of the disease. Researchers are increasingly examining the experiences of healthcare workers (HCWs), yet there is a dearth of research considering how gender shapes HCWs’ personal experiences. As the majority of HCWs in the UK and worldwide are women, research that investigates gender and focuses on women’s experiences is urgently needed. We conducted an analysis of 41 qualitative interviews with HCWs in the British NHS during the first peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Spring of 2020. Our findings demonstrate that gender is significant when understanding the experiences of HCWs during COVID-19 as it illuminates ingrained inequalities and asymmetrical power relations, gendered organizational structures and norms, and individual gendered bodies that interact to shape experiences of healthcare workers. These findings point to important steps to improve gender equality, the wellbeing of healthcare workers, and the overall strength of the NHS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Family, Work and Welfare: A Gender Lens on COVID-19)
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Article
Covid-19 and Women’s Triple Burden: Vignettes from Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Vietnam and Australia
Soc. Sci. 2020, 9(5), 87; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci9050087 - 21 May 2020
Cited by 55 | Viewed by 12480
Abstract
During disease outbreaks, women endure additional burdens associated with paid and unpaid work, often without consideration or the alleviation of other life responsibilities. This paper draws on the concept of the triple burden in theorizing the gender divisions in productive and reproductive work [...] Read more.
During disease outbreaks, women endure additional burdens associated with paid and unpaid work, often without consideration or the alleviation of other life responsibilities. This paper draws on the concept of the triple burden in theorizing the gender divisions in productive and reproductive work and community activities in the context of disaster. Events that include famine, war, natural disaster or disease outbreak are all well documented as increasing women’s vulnerability to a worsening of gendered burdens. In the case of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, this is no different. Focussing on Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Vietnam and Australia, the four vignettes in this paper serve to highlight the intersections between Covid-19 and gendered burdens, particularly in frontline work, unpaid care work and community activities. While pre-disaster gender burdens are well established as strong, our analysis during the early months of the pandemic indicates that women’s burdens are escalating. We estimate that women will endure a worsening of their burdens until the pandemic is well under control, and for a long time after. Public policy and health efforts have not sufficiently acknowledged the issues concerned with the associations between gender and disease outbreaks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Family, Work and Welfare: A Gender Lens on COVID-19)
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