The Composition of Grandparental Childcare: Gendered Patterns in Cross-National Perspective

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 17:54
Oral Presentation
Lyn CRAIG, The University of Melbourne, Australia
Myra HAMILTON, University of New South Wales, Australia
Judith BROWN, University of New South Wales, Australia
Grandparents are important providers of childcare while their adult children participate in work and other activities. The literature suggests that grandmothers are more likely than grandfathers to provide care for their grandchildren, and also that the prevalence of childcare provision among grandparents, and the intensity of care provided, varies by country, with patterns of care loosely associated with types of policy constellations. But research is lacking on the composition of grandparent childcare time, and whether this varies across countries. What patterns do we see in the gendered distribution of childcare tasks among grandparents? To what extent does this vary across countries with different family policy regimes and norms of familial obligation? Using Time Use Surveys of Australia, Korea, Italy and France we explore how grandparents are spending their time with grandchildren. We focus on the activities of child care including physical care, talking, reading and playing, supervising children or accompanying them to day care, school or sports. We reveal cross-national similarities and differences in the gendered distribution and relative composition of care and discuss the implications for grandmothers and grandfathers in the four different welfare regimes.