Prof Sarah Smith, Prof Almudena Sevilla & Prof Cameron Hepburn in conversation: "Baby steps: the gender division of childcare during the COVID-19 pandemic"

08 October 2020

Portrait of Professor Cameron Hepburn

with Professor Cameron Hepburn
Battcock Professor of Environmental Economics

Cameron Hepburn is co-Director of the Economics of Sustainability Programme, based at the Institute for New Economic Thinking at the Oxford Martin School. He is the Battcock Professor of Environmental Economics at the Smith School of Enterprise and t...

The nature and scale of the shocks to the demand for, and the supply of, home childcare during the COVID-19 pandemic provide a unique opportunity to increase our understanding of the division of home labour and the determinants of specialisation within the household.

Real-time data was collected on daily lives to document the impact of measures to control COVID-19 on UK families with children under the age of 12. This documented that these families have been doing the equivalent of a working week in childcare, with mothers bearing most of the burden.

The additional hours of childcare done by women are less sensitive to their employment than they are for men, leaving many women juggling work and (a lot more) childcare, with likely adverse effects on their mental health and future careers. However, some households, those in which men have not been working, have taken greater steps towards an equal allocation, offering the prospect of sharing the burden of childcare more equally in the future.

Join Professor Sarah Smith, Professor of Economics from the University of Bristol, Professor Almudena Sevilla, Professor in Economics and Public Policy at UCL, and Professor Cameron Hepburn where they will discuss the implications of these findings and what the future will hold.

This talk is in conjunction with The Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at the University of Oxford and the Oxford Review of Economic Policy.