Spectrum News 1 highlights UW–Madison study on education-related child care during pandemic

A Spectrum News 1 story recently highlighted School of Education research that shed light on gender disparities in education-related child care responsibilities during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The study was co-authored by Ran Liu, an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Policy Studies, and Educational Policy Studies doctoral student Siyun Gan. It found women took on more education-related child care responsibilities than men during the first several months of the COVID-19 pandemic — and this disparity was even sharper for some lower-income women.

Ran Liu

Liu says the findings show the need for additional government policies aimed at supporting women, particularly lower-income women, in the event of large-scale child care facility and school closures.

“Our analyses provide further evidence that the additional burden of child home education during the pandemic was almost entirely shouldered by women,” Liu says in the Spectrum News 1 story. “This gendered division could seriously limit women’s opportunities for employment and exacerbate household and labor market inequality.”

The study, published in the journal Sociology, found that daily time spent helping children with education-related activities, such as virtual schooling, homework, and school projects, decreased for men in 2020 compared to previous years. For women, that daily time commitment more than doubled. For low-income women living in areas with widespread child care facility closures during the pandemic, the increase in time was even steeper.

Spectrum News 1 is a statewide cable news network. Read the full Spectrum News 1 story here.

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