Sociologický časopis
Czech sociological review


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Jaroslava Hasmanová Marhánková, Martina Štípková:
Women as Care Managers: The Effect of Gender and Partnership Status on Grandparent Care for Grandchildren [929]

Marhánková, Jaroslava Hasmanová, Martina Štípková. 2015. „Women as Care Managers: The Effect of Gender and Partnership Status on Grandparent Care for Grandchildren.“ Sociologický časopis / Czech Sociological Review 51 (6): 929-958,

Grandparental care of grandchildren is a highly gendered institution, with women being more likely to participate in it than men. This article studies whether and why care by grandmothers and grandfathers is influenced by their family arrangement. Following previous research, the authors focus on the mediating role of grandmothers in the involvement of men in caring for their grandchildren. We use a combination of quantitative and qualitative data about grandparents with small grandchildren (under ten years of age). The quantitative analysis is based on SHARE data and identifies whether the involvement in care depends on gender and the partnership arrangements of grandparents, controlling for a number of other characteristics of families. The analysis reveals a strong positive impact of the presence of a partner on the engagement of men (but not women) in grandparental care. This effect is present among both intact families and families with more complex arrangements. The qualitative analysis of 20 interviews with mothers and 20 interviews with grandmothers provides a deeper understanding of these results. It shows that the involvement of grandparents is shaped by the gender-specific notions of care competence and grandparental roles held by the participants and also by the kin-keeping activities of women. Grandmothers, compared to their male counterparts, are perceived as more capable of satisfying the needs of a small child. They also do more work on maintaining intergenerational family relationships and arranging care. They actively (sometimes in very sophisticated ways) involve their partners in the care of grandchildren.

Keywords: care, gender, grandparents, kin-keeping, partnership situation

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