Reader letter: Why are most carers in community women?

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Caring for a disabled loved one must be one of the most challenging tasks there is, and there are in excess of 6.5 million carers in the UK – that’s one in eight of us.

But did your readers know that six out of 10 of all carers are women? Why are there so many more female than male carers?

I work for the charity Revitalise, which provides respite holidays for disabled people and carers from across the UK, and we did some research to find out.

In our survey, we found that eight out of 10 female carers thought that women felt pressured into the role of carer on account of their gender.

What’s more, nine out of 10 felt there was an expectation in families and society that women take on the role of carer.

But what’s surprising is that eight out of 10 women and nine out of 10 men agreed that men are just as good at caring as women! So what is going on?

We think it’s because there is a widely held view in society that caring is somehow ‘women’s work’- a task that a woman can do better, or is better suited to, than a man.

Well, there are around 2.65 million male carers in the UK who would strongly disagree! So isn’t it high time we got rid of such lazy stereotypes?

Because if women are feeling unfairly pressured into giving up their careers, hopes and plans to become carers solely because of their gender, then we think that is quite wrong.

At Revitalise we think much more needs to be done to support unpaid family carers across the board – and that includes tackling this perceived issue of gender bias.

I’d like to invite your readers to get behind Revitalise’s essential work supporting disabled people and carers – male and female – from across the UK.

For more info and to find out how you can help, call 0303 303 0145 or visit www.revitalise.org.uk.

Colin Brook

Revitalise