Universitat Rovira i Virgili

Men as caregivers: challenges and opportunities to reduce the gender gap and to face new care needs.

Technical Details

Name of the Project: Men as caregivers: challenges and opportunities to reduce the gender gap and to face new care needs. 

Reference:  2014ACUP0045

Call: RecerCaixa 2014

Principal Researchers: Dolors Comas d'Argemir, PhD. (URV) and Diana Marre,PhD. (UAB)

Període: 28/02/2015 - 30/09/2017

The recognition and redistribution of care work is a priority and urgent issue. Women are incorporated into the labor market, families have profoundly changed and dependency linked to age have increased. The involvement of men in care work is a pending challenge in terms of gender equality, and it is also a challenge in dealing with the considerable increase in care needs in our society.

This project will analyze how men entered into the activities of care, changes and resistance. We will identify cultural barriers (gender constructions) and barriers to opportunity (better situation of men at labor market) that hinder the involvement of men in care work in paid and unpaid carework,  differentiating the care of adult from the one to children. Finally identify emerging models in also part of the research objectives.

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Areas of research:

Familiy. Our study reveals that the involvement of men in raising children (the new paternities) has a strong social recognition and a lot of visibility. This is not the case, however, in the case of men who care for the elderly or in situations of dependency, whether their wives, parents, or sons / daughters. With our research, we give them visibility and show that men also take care of themselves despite not being socialized in these tasks.

Labor. We also look for men who work in paid work in care, whether in public or private services, or hired in the domestic sphere. They are occupational sectors where women predominate. We have analyzed the experiences and perceptions of men working in "women's jobs", how they reach the sector and how they are inserted. We take into account the perspective of the workers in the sector, as well as that of the managers of the companies that offer care services.

People receiving care. The research also focuses on care recipients, who can not be treated as mere passive subjects of care, but as persons with agency, capacity and control of care processes. Gender dimensions are also involved in the relationships between caregiver and caregiver and can not be ignored, although this has been a subject rarely studied and is another contribution of our study.

Public politics. Focusing on municipalities, as responsible for the Home Care Service, as well as occupational policies and equality, we analyze whether there are actions aimed at incorporating men into paid care work.

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Further information

One of the main contributions of this project is that it makes visible and reveals the important involvement of men in caring for adults.