Double Fragility: The Care Crisis in the Time of the Pandemic

Publikation aus Policies
Technologie, Innovation und Politikberatung

Alexandra Scheele, Helene Schiffbänker, David Walker, Greta Wienkamp

Research Gate , 9/2023


The COVID-19 pandemic exposed and reinforced the structural crisis in paid and

unpaid care work. On the one hand, pandemic-related closures of schools and childcare

facilities increased the fragility of unpaid care arrangements, which are mainly organised by

women. On the other hand, high infection and hospitalisation rates exacerbated the difficult

working conditions in health-care professions, ranging from low wages and long working

hours to high levels of mental and physical stress. Drawing on interviews conducted in an

ongoing project in the German and Austrian health-care sector, this article investigates, from

a gender perspective, how employees in health-care professions, who are at the very centre

of both the unpaid and paid care crises, experienced this precarious situation during the

pandemic. We suggest that the female-dominated sectors of paid and unpaid care work

experienced further devaluation during the COVID-19 pandemic, while attempts to valorise

their work were rather short-lived. We further argue that the structural crisis in paid care work

is threatening the functionality of the health-care sector

Keywords: care-work, health-care sector, crisis of social reproduction, Corona/COVID-19 pandemi

Url: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/373682161_Double_Fragility_The_Care_Crisis_in_the_Time_of_the_Pandemic