Care Work, Gender Inequality, and the State: Women's Employment and Children with Disabilities

Philip N. Cohen, University of California, Irvine
Miruna Petrescu-Prahova, University of California, Irvine

Despite the deinstitutionalization of people with disabilities in the U.S.A., much of the care for children with disabilities is performed at home, where care work is largely women's work. Thus, the gender division of labor in the care for children with disabilities, in the absence of greater institutional or state support, is one mechanism for the reproduction of gender inequality more broadly. Using new data on disabilities from the 2000 Decennial Census, we test for an association between the presence of children with disabilities and the division of paid work between husbands and wives. The results are consistent with other evidence that when care work is to be done within families, it falls disproportionately to women--undermining women's career mobility and contributing to gender inequality in the labor market as well as within families.

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Presented in Session 150: Family Time Allocation: Parents and Children, Costs and Benefits