Women and the care gap
We need to start addressing the care gap
It is no secret that women tend to take on the majority of informal care-giving, but the economic cost of the care gap is starting to mount up.
Stuck in a job you hate just because you need flexible hours? Struggling to get back into work after a five-year career break? Getting passed over for promotion because you can’t work overtime?
All these situations will be depressingly familiar to working parents. But increasing numbers of working people find themselves facing the same problems because they care for elderly or disabled relatives. The largest group of carers are women in their 50's and 60's, most of whom are still working. And in families, daughters tend to be the ones to pick up caring responsibilities. This ‘care gap’ creates yet another drag on women’s success in the workplace.
The care gap is affecting jobs
Recent research in the UK found that around two-thirds of carers are in paid work themselves. But this population-level average disguises a huge disparity. One in four working women in their 50s are carers, but only one in eight men of the same age.
Women tend to take on more caring duties overall. They make up around 60% of all carers. They are also more likely to be providing round-the-clock care (over 50 hours a week). This is a level of intensity which is incompatible with full-time work. As a result, carers of all genders are more likely to be in low-level roles. Female carers are also twice as likely as men to reduce their hours at work, and four times as likely to quit work entirely.
It is important to keep networking, despite your over-loaded schedule. Try our FREE Daily LinkedIn routine for today's super busy women.
The cost of informal caregiving is huge
In the US alone, the cost of informal caregiving for the elderly is over $500bn annually. This figure is calculated by looking at the wages lost by caretakers. It’s estimated that the economic costs could be roughly halved by replacing all informal family care by minimum-wage care workers. The idea of paying for nursing or social care is just as fraught as paying for childcare. Do you want to outsource the care of your loved one to an overworked non-specialist, earning $12 an hour? Or do you want to pay twice as much for an expert and see all your earnings eaten up? Or do you want to do it yourself and let your career take the hit?
Aside from the practical effects on your career, caring for a loved one can exert a huge psychological toll. Carers are at higher risk of a whole host of health conditions, from depression to stroke. On top of that, female carers are more likely to suffer psychological distress related to their caring role.
While employers are gradually coming around to the idea of flexible working options for parents of young children, it can be hard to find an employer who is similarly understanding of other caring responsibilities. As the population lives longer and governments cut funding for social care, it’s clear that this is a growing problem for women in the workplace.
Don't let care-giving duties prevent your success. Make your dreams a reality with our Career Coaching for Women.
Found that interesting?
Learn more about our services
Make your dreams a reality with a professional evaluation of your career to date.
The evidence is in. More women in your company can deliver 35% greater financial returns. (Catalyst)
Dates for the Diary
June 28th Coaching and Discussion - Share the load with Dorothy Dalton and Ian Dinwiddy
Download and listen free podcasts
How to Create an Effective USP What is a USP? Our Unique Selling Point or UVP (Unique Value Proposition) is our key core message about where...read more
How to Rethink the Modern Workplace for Gender Equality New research shows that diversity and inclusion is a top priority for leaders. So why...read more
Menopause in the workplace In this podcast with Nicki Williams award winning author, keynote speaker and Founder of Happy Hormones for Life,...read more
How to Cultivate Empathy in the Workplace Nancy Milton, international business communications expert, keynote speaker and author, share some vital...read more
Taking Care of your COW Tanvi Guatam, international Personal Branding expert says there is a misconception out there that a personal brand is...read more
The importance of Hard Talk Dawn Metcalfe, author of Managing the Matrix and Hard Talk, shares with us tips to achieve the lasting communication...read more
When Does Female Rivalry Turn into Sabotage There’s a lot of stuff written on social media about female rivalry and competition between women. Some...read more
Goal setting tips to boost your career The happiest people are those that really love their jobs. Those that don’t, dread Sunday nights and...read more
Sexism: How to stage a Bystander Intervention in the Workplace In this power coaching podcast, we're going to tackle one of the questions...read more
How to Get Noticed by Head Hunters & Recruiters In this power coaching podcast, we're going to tackle one of the questions asked multiple...read more
Daily gratitude is an important booster. Read why we all need to show more of it.read more
Are you suffering from COVID19 boreout due to mental under-load? The symptoms of boreout are very similar to burnout so it can be difficult to tell them apartread more
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasia-Cortez shows women how to handle sexist abuse by excoriating the perpetrator in a systematic and dignified manner to the House floor.read more