Covid-19, flexible working, and implications for gender equality in the United Kingdom

Heejung Chung*, Holly Birkett, Sarah Forbes, Hyojin Seo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
143 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

We examine the role flexible working has for gender equality during the pandemic, focusing on arrangements that give workers control over when and where they work. We use a survey of dual-earning working parents in the United Kingdom during the peak of the first lockdown, namely, between mid-May and mid-June 2020. Results show that in most households in our survey, mothers were mainly responsible for housework and child care tasks both before and during the lockdown period, although this proportion has slightly declined during the pandemic. In households where fathers worked from home during the pandemic, respondents were less likely to say that mothers were the ones solely or mostly responsible for housework and child care. Fathers who worked from home were more likely to say that they were doing more housework and child care during the lockdown period than they were before. Finally, we explore what we expect to happen in the postpandemic times in relation to flexible working and gender equality. The large expansion of flexible working we expect to happen may help reduce some of the gender inequalities that have exacerbated during the pandemic, but only if we reflect on and change our existing work cultures and gender norms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)218-232
Number of pages15
JournalGender and Society
Volume35
Issue number2
Early online date19 Mar 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021

Keywords

  • child care
  • division of housework
  • flexible working
  • gender equality
  • working from home

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Covid-19, flexible working, and implications for gender equality in the United Kingdom'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this