Dr. Kimberly M. Hillier is a scholar of motherhood and gender. She is also a registered and practicing Ontario Certified Teacher, mother, and sessional instructor at the University of Windsor, Faculty of Education.
Dr. Christopher J. Greig is an Associate Professor at the University of Windsor. He teaches in the Faculty of Education and Women’s and Gender Studies. His research focuses on Canadian men and masculinities. He is the author of various books including Ontario Boys: Masculinity and the Idea of Boyhood in Postwar Ontario, 1945 to 1960 (2014). His co-edited book Canadian Men and Masculinities: Historical Contemporary Perspectives appeared in 2012. His most recent co-authored book is Next to the Ice: Exploring the Culture and Community of Hockey in Canada (2016).
This article presents a gendered intersectional analysis of caregiving during the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Situated in the context of the current global health crisis, we discuss how the pandemic has exacerbated pre-existing gender inequities within society and draw attention to the disparities for various groups of women, particularly mothers in relation to caregiving. Guided by intersectional feminist theory and through the use of theory building, we further discuss how the current COVID-19 pandemic has intensified structural inequities for marginalized women and mothers in relation to their roles as frontline healthcare workers, essential service providers, and historical roles as primary caregivers. To support the intersectional discussion of caregiving, gender, and mothering, we draw from North American popular media sources, primarily within a Canadian context. We also draw on various surveys and reports published by national and international organizations such as Statistics Canada and United Nations, and academic sources such as The Lancet and other materials connected to COVID-19. Given women and mothers’ enduring roles as primary caregivers and their higher representation in frontline healthcare and essential services, we argue that disaggregated data and discussions of intersectional gender inequities are critical to cross-sectoral pandemic response and planning. Recognizing gender as an intersecting component of many other identities such as race and class, this paper provides a deeper understanding of intersectional gender relations during the COVID-19 pandemic, and its discursive relationship to gender, motherhood and caregiving.
Keywords: mothering, caregiving, COVID-19, gender equity, motherhood