Katharina Mader: Home office as social trap

“All former economic crises led to a backlash regarding the equality between genders. It was therefore interesting to hear economists argueing during the first lockdown, that the corona crisis could have the potential to reduce those inequalities between women and men. With more people staying at home, men could take over more unpaid work, they argued. And that working from home could relieve women, easing a balance between work and leisure.

We are now beginning to see, however, that home office doesn’t (automatically) change gender roles and the distribution of unpaid work. It doesn’t bring more free time to mothers or fathers, and even increases the unpaid work done by mothers. But maybe this time around – during the third lockdown – things will change? With our research we show how the current crisis impacts unpaid work, home office and its compatibility. We want to uncover how multiple burdens are especially impacting women and how strong traditional role models can affect the economic situation of women.”

Katharina Mader is a researcher at the Institute for Heterodoxe Economics at the Vienna University or Economics and Business. She has received numerous awards for her research including the Gabriele Possanner Förderpreis, the 16th Wiener Frauenpreis and the Käthe Leichter Preis. Her focus lies on Feminist Economics, Care-Economics and unpaid work, as well as Gender Budgeting and gender-sensitive economic politics.

Photo: Akos Burg/WU