Based on qualitative research of women that cared in the past or care now for their frail elderly mothers, this article aims to describe and explain some of the factors leading to the predominance of women in informal care for the elderly. The article builds on Sandra Harding’s and Joan W. Scott’s concept of gender. Their concept defines gender as a category operating at multiple interconnected levels. Based on the analysis of interviews with biographical components, we show the impact of cultural and structural factors on women’s decisions to take care, and how these factors are gender structured. Among cultural factors we focus on the process of socialization; we analyse the effect of gender norms of care and the issue of cultural taboos in intimate care. Among structural factors we focus on paid work, the gender division of labour in the family and non/availability of formal care services. On the basis of caregivers’ stories we show how these factors coherently and simultaneously strengthen the connection between women and providing hands-on care. We also identify emerging disruptions in this gender-conservative model of informal care.
Peer-reviewed journal article
Dudová Radka, Volejníčková Romana. 2014. „Proč ženy pečují? Gender a neformální péče o seniory.“ Gender, rovné příležitosti, výzkum 15 (1): 41-54. ISSN 1213-0028.