As our latest carers’ campaign hits the headlines, we delve a little deeper to find out whether there is a gender bias associated with assuming a caring role.
Are women under greater pressure to adopt a caring role than their male counterparts? If so, could societal views and expectations have any bearing on who will take on the role of carer? In our latest survey released today, we explore these perceptions and more to reveal some very insightful results.
Did you know that 4/10 of the UK’s 6.5 million unpaid carers are male? Despite this, our study has revealed a perception among female carers that they are victims of a gender bias which may be unfairly forcing them into caring roles. That’s not all – twice as many women as men thought the gender of a person was a factor in their becoming a carer.
With societal norms often depicting women as nurturer within their family unit, it is arguable that women are naturally pre disposed to the role of carer and our research suggests this to be true. When asked, 9 out of 10 female carers felt there was an expectation in families and society that women take on the role of carer, to which over 8 out of 10 non-carers also agreed.
While a difference in opinion is clear thus far, one of the most intriguing results of our survey presented itself in relation to the question of men’s caring capabilities. 8 out of 10 women and 9 out of 10 men were unanimous in their views that men are just as good at caring as women – an opinion also shared by 8 out of 10 non-carers.
Coupled with these tangible lifestyle changes for those with a responsibility of care, our survey also painted an unembellished picture of the plight of the UK’s unpaid carers; both male and female. Half of the carers who responded to the survey – 83% of whom were 50 or over – said they provided 24/7 care for a loved one, yet over a third said they never had any significant time away since they started caring.
We have first hand experience of the unrelenting devotion many carers willingly provide for their loved ones. The question is, at what cost to themselves?
While this plentiful research may have raised significant issues related to a gender bias in caring, we must not lose sight of the equally essential need to provide adequate support for unpaid family carers, giving them the opportunity to take time out from their caring role.