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COVID-19, Flexible working and implications for gender equality in the United Kingdom

Chung, Heejung, Birkett, Holly, Forbes, Sarah, Seo, Hyojin (2021) COVID-19, Flexible working and implications for gender equality in the United Kingdom. Gender & Society, . ISSN 0891-2432. E-ISSN 1552-3977. (doi:10.1177/08912432211001304) (KAR id:87262)

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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 childcare 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 childcare. Fathers who worked from home were more likely to say that they were doing more housework and childcare during the lockdown period than they were before. Finally, we explore what we expect to happen in the post-pandemic 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.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1177/08912432211001304
Uncontrolled keywords: flexible working, gender equality, COVID-19, UK, lockdown, working from home
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Women
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council (
Depositing User: Heejung Chung
Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2021 15:13 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Jul 2023 11:00 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Chung, Heejung:
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