Transformations in the Gender Gaps in Paid and Unpaid Work During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Findings from Turkey

İlkkaracan Ajas İ., MEMİŞ PARMAKSIZ E.

FEMINIST ECONOMICS, vol.27, no.1-2, pp.288-309, 2021 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 27 Issue: 1-2
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/13545701.2020.1849764
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, ABI/INFORM, Business Source Elite, Business Source Premier, EconLit, Educational research abstracts (ERA), Gender Studies Database, Political Science Complete, Social services abstracts, Sociological abstracts, Worldwide Political Science Abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.288-309
  • Keywords: COVID-19, Turkey, unpaid work
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


This paper uses a unique survey conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic in Turkey to analyze men's and women's time use under lockdown. The study finds that while men's participation in unpaid work increased, particularly for men who switched to working from home, the relative increase for women further widened the gender gap in unpaid work. The gender gap in paid work narrowed due to relatively less employment disruption for women and a relatively higher decrease in men's paid work. The total workload of employed women reached levels that make it hard to sustain a decent work-life balance. Disparities in unpaid work among women by education and employment status decreased, reflecting how purchasing power became somewhat irrelevant under the pandemic measures. These findings unveil simultaneously the fragility of the work-life balance conditions faced by employed women and a window of opportunity created by men's increased participation in unpaid work.