Partner care, gender equality, and ageing in Spain and Sweden

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Antonio Abellan
Julio Perez
Rogelio Pujol
Gerdt Sundström
Magnus Jegermalm
Bo Malmberg

Abstract

We used national surveys to study how older persons’ changing household patterns influence the gender balance of caregiving in two countries with distinct household structures and cultures, Spain and Sweden. In both countries, men and women provide care equally often for their partner in couple-only households. This has become the most common household type among older persons in Spain and prevails altogether in Sweden. This challenges the traditional dominance of young or middle-aged women as primary caregivers in Spain. In Sweden, many caregivers are old themselves. We focus attention to partners as caregivers and the consequences of changing household structures for caregiving, which may be on the way to gender equality in both countries, with implications for families and for the public services.

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