Doing gender and age: The case of informal elderly care in the Czech Republic

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Radka Dudová

Abstract

This article seeks to describe and explain some of the factors behind the prevalence of women in informal care for seniors. It presents a qualitative study of women who are caring for a frail elderly parent in the Czech Republic. Care is seen as a space where gender and other intersecting identities are performed and this has specific subjective, structural and material consequences. The author draws on biographical interviews with women caregivers and shows how they “do gender and age” in their narratives of how and why they made the decision to provide care and how they actually provide care. The author identifies situations and circumstances in which gender categories and gender relations shift and are destabilised by changes in society. The Czech Republic is a country with a history of state socialism and with traditionally large numbers of women in the workforce, but it also has a highly traditional gender culture.

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