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Transformations in the gender gaps in paid and unpaid work during the COVID-19 pandemic: Findings from Turkey

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.


  • During the COVID-19 pandemic in Turkey, women’s unpaid work time almost doubled, while men’s quadrupled.

  • Women experienced lower employment disruption and less decrease in paid work time than men.

  • Employed women saw an alarming intensification in their overall workload.

  • Men’s unpaid work increased substantially due to working from home and lower employment hours.

  • COVID-19 has highlighted the need for work–life balance policies and for investment in social care.

İlkkaracan, İ., & Memiş, E. (2020). Transformations in the Gender Gaps in Paid and Unpaid Work During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Findings from Turkey. Feminist Economics, 1-22.

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