Covid-19 and the pivotal role of grandparents: childcare and income support in South Africa and the UK

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Abstract

The Covid-19 global crisis and the “stay home” response taken by most governments has starkly exposed the dependence of formal economies on the invisible and unpaid care labour of women - a dependence which has intensified during the pandemic as public childcare provision and schools are shut and parents work from home. In this article, we focus specifically on the childcare and income support provided by grandparents in the UK and South Africa. In undertaking this comparative analysis we demonstrate the universality of intergenerational interdependence and the contextual specificity of grandparental childcare and income provision, as well as the differential impacts of suspending, or risking, such supports during the pandemic. Grandparents, within and across households make substantial contributions to our economic, social and affective lives and we argue for greater recognition of these crucial contributions and the development of a more intersectional understanding of the provision of care work.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFeminist Economics
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 20 Aug 2020

Keywords

  • COVID-19, grandparents, gender, childcare, age, household income

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