The Gender Gap in Help Work: Does it Decline at Older Ages?

Joan R. Kahn, University of Maryland
Suzanne M. Bianchi, University of Maryland
Brittany S. McGill, University of Maryland

This paper examines changes in the gender gap in “help work,” (informal support and care) as adults age from their fifties into their mid-sixties and move toward retirement. During this life course phase, we anticipate a narrowing of gender differences as men and women face fewer constraints on their time, and their relative resources in terms of income have become more similar. We base our analysis on the 1992-1993 and 2004 waves of the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, which has followed the lives of a sample of 1,957 Wisconsin high school graduates. Our analysis will first assess the gender gap in help work for adults in their fifties, to determine whether and in what ways women shoulder a greater burden of care than men. We then examine changes in the gender gap as adults age into their sixties, to determine if indeed, relatively more men step forward into caring roles.

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Presented in Session 192: Retirement Transitions