Site Home   Gender and Poverty       Introduction to Gender and Health   The Gender Lens Tool

Women as Caregivers

In most cases, women are responsible for the informal care of their aging parents and spouses.[8] It has been suggested that the care of older adults is increasingly provided by family members as funding is removed from institutional programs, and not appropriately allocated to home care services.[8] In addition, the situation in Canada is such that families may find it difficult to cope with this additional burden as family sizes decrease, the population ages, and more women enter the workforce.

The following are the results of a survey of the primary caregivers of past and current home care clients which found some important differences in the experience of care giving in lower income and higher income individuals.[8]

  • Caregivers with lower incomes felt more powerless, lonely, isolated and challenged than those with higher incomes.

  • Only 7% of caregivers with lower incomes were satisfied with their care giving experience, compared with 50% of those with higher incomes.

  • Low income caregivers were much more likely to experience a total or significant decrease in leisure time and decreased satisfaction with personal relationships as a result of their care giving responsibilities.


Can you think of reasons why the care giving experience differs for low income and high income individuals?


8. Williams, AM, Forbes, DA, Mitchell, J, Essar, M, Corbett, B. The influence of income on informal care giving: Policy implications. Health Care for Women International 2003;24:280-91.

All references for this section