Revitalise asks: Are women unfairly bearing the brunt of caring?
As Mothers are recognised and celebrated on Mother’s Day across the UK, a study by national disabled people’s charity Revitalise has highlighted the pressure felt by women to assume caring roles ahead of men.
58% of the UK’s 6.5 million unpaid carers are women and many will not have the luxury of a break from caring on Mother’s Day or any other day, asserts Revitalise.
Half (48%) 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 (34%) said they had never had any significant time away since they started caring.
While acknowledging the 42% of carers who are men, the Revitalise survey found a perception among the female carers that they are victims of a gender bias which may be unfairly forcing them into caring roles. 8 out of 10 (78%) of the female respondents agreed that women feel more pressured into the role of carer on account of their gender. However, this contention was shared by only half of the men (53%).
9 out of 10 (89%) 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 (84%) non-carers also agreed.
Revitalise is highlighting its study to coincide with Mother’s Day and is calling for more support for family carers – especially in the form of regular respite from caring – and urgent action to address the perceived issue of a gender bias within caring.
Revitalise Chief Executive Chris Simmonds commented:
“It’s important to acknowledge that many people don’t regard caring for loved one as a burden or a chore. In our survey, 6 out of 10 carers said they were happy to be carers because they felt it was their duty.
“But most carers are under incredible pressure and get very little support – a situation made even worse for women due to feeling unfairly forced into caring roles by an apparent gender bias in society.
“So we have chosen Mother’s Day to open the door on this issue, which we feel deserves urgent attention. If women are bearing the brunt of the duty of care, if they feel unfairly pressured into giving up their careers, hopes and plans solely because of their gender, then we think that is quite wrong.
“We’ve always believed that disabled people should have the same rights and freedoms as non-disabled people, and – on Mother’s Day above all days – we believe that exactly the same principle should apply to all carers, irrespective of their gender.”