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Paid Caregiving: An Extension of Women’s Work

Gender and Generations: Continuity and Change

ISBN: 978-1-80071-033-7, eISBN: 978-1-80071-032-0

Publication date: 15 March 2021


The population is aging. The desire to remain in one’s own home through the aging process appears universal. Home health caregivers provide a vital role in allowing people to age in place. Women, and in particular immigrant women, have become the face of home health caregivers. Caregiving is generational. Paid caregiving is viewed as a natural extension of a skill set women have used most of their adult life. Home health caregivers view their work as a continuation of their roles in the family and they often frame their work as providing services that family members cannot, or will not perform. Reimbursement for these services is problematic. Assigning a monetary value to caregiving seems callous, and as a result caregivers are underpaid and undervalued. Global push–pull factors and the creation of a gray economy also contribute to a devaluation of these jobs. Caregivers themselves are poor advocates for better pay and working conditions because they believe it commodifies a kinship like experience. The future of caregiving is problematic. Poor countries will suffer greatly exporting their women; rich countries will need a tremendous number of caregivers to match their demographics and women will be overwhelmed providing care for others and themselves.



Monaghan-Geernaert, P. (2021), "Paid Caregiving: An Extension of Women’s Work", Demos, V. and Segal, M.T. (Ed.) Gender and Generations: Continuity and Change (Advances in Gender Research, Vol. 30), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 155-172.



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