Parental and Grandparental Labour in Russia: Gender Perspective
Similar to most of the advanced economies, Russia has seen a rapid change of social values, proactive engagement of women in the labour activity, the transition from the authoritarian to egalitarian model of family relationships. In a number of Russian regions, men and women increasingly believe that they have to take an equal part in housekeeping and childcare. We study parental responsibilities associated with raising, developing children and taking care of them as a particular type of labour—parental labour. Parents may delegate these functions to other actors—for example, to family members; therefore, we can look into not only parental, but also grandparental labour. The paper aims to analyse gender aspects of the parental and grandparental labour in Russia. We used a series of qualitative and quantitative research methods. To examine gender aspects of parental labour, we conducted in-depth interviews with 7 mothers employed (residents of the Sverdlovsk Region). To examine the nature of grandparental labour in 2021, we surveyed 500 parents – the residents of the Sverdlovsk Region; filter questions were to control that the respondents have both under-age children and their currently living parents and/or those of the spouse (i.e., grandparents). For the analysis, we selected questions aimed to study the content, forms, and the scope of grandparental labour. We processed and analysed data using IBM SPSS Statistics 23.0. For the analysis, we also used descriptive statistics, frequency analysis, and non-parametric statistics (Mann–Whitney U-test). According to the in-depth interviews, women are overstressed about their burden of parental responsibilities. With that, they still stereotypically believe that raising children is predominantly a woman’s job. Parents argued that grandparental labour is also highly gendered; most often, it is exercised by grandmothers. In particular, maternal grandparents fulfil parental labour functions more frequently than paternal ones. Evaluations of help differ most prominently in those cases when parents estimated paternal grandparents’ help. Our results may be of use when designing new mechanisms for the family and demographic policies in Russia, which aim to ensure gender equality and the proactive involvement of men in parental and grandparental labour.
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