Recent research has evidenced the gender differentiated impacts of the COVID19 pandemic on health and socio-economic inequalities in the UK. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on gender inequalities particularly regarding the increased burden of unpaid care work, health, education, and gender-based violence have been evidenced in a number of recent studies (O’Donnell et al. 2021; Flor et al. 2022; Herten-Crabb and Wenham 2022; Dotsikas et al. 2023). In particular, gendered inequalities are reflected in gendered themes within caregivers’ discourse and reports on patterns among caregivers. This chapter analyses recent empirical evidence relating to the gender-differentiated health, economic and social impacts of the COVID-19 crisis in the UK. The chapter also explores recent research relating to gendered themes within private and public discourse relating to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is followed by a discussion of the policy implications of private and public discourse relating to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on gendered health inequalities in the UK. The main findings of the chapter are that the burden of normative expectations placed on women during the two lockdowns in the UK were overwhelming, with mothers facing extraordinary levels of emotional and psychological stress as they struggled to cope with conflicting demands of domestic work, home schooling, working from home and/or working within health care or social care. Moreover, women and caregivers in general faced extraordinary pressures in attempting to live up to dominant public narratives of caregivers as stoic and heroic.

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Ellison, M. 2023, 'The Gender-Differentiated Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Health and Social Inequalities in the UK: An Exploration of Gendered Themes within Private and Public Discourse and Policy Implications', Languages Cultures Mediation, 10(2), pp. 261-292. https://doi.org/10.7358/lcm-2023-002-ellm

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Last updated: 16 May 2024
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