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The gendered distribution of household labor, whereby women shoulder most of the home and childcare responsibilities, remains a crucial obstacle for working mothers. While scholars have detailed the ways in which household labor is gendered, what has not been fully appreciated to date is the challenge of managing the household tasks, particularly childcare, that working mothers delegate to others in order to remain in the labor force. In this paper, we introduce a new form of gendered labor for working mothers managing third-party childcare, which we call caring for caregiver work. Drawing from interviews with 48 mothers and fathers in South Korea, we show that working mothers spend significant time and emotional energy managing the relationship with third-party caregivers, which bears implications for their labor force participation and well-being, as well as fathers’ involvement in childcare. Our research makes novel contributions to the literatures on challenges to working women, gendered divisions of labor, and sources of work-family conflict, and suggests new avenues for research at the intersection of work and family.
Teresa Cardador is an Associate Professor in the School of Labor and Employment Relations at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Teresa's research centers on how occupations, work environments, and personal orientations toward work (e.g., callings) affect how workers experience meaningfulness and a sense of purpose in work. Teresa is particularly interested in the experience of workers in gender-segregated occupations, such as engineering, surgery, policing, and nursing. Outlets for Teresa's research include Administrative Science Quarterly, Academy of Management Journal, Organization Science, Journal of Organizational Behavior, and Journal of Vocational Behavior.
Eunmi Mun is an Associate Professor in the School of Labor and Employment Relations at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Prior to joining LER in 2016, Eunmi was a postdoctoral fellow at Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies at Harvard University and taught at Amherst College. Eunmi's research tries to answer why gender inequality in the workplace persists and what can be done to reduce it. These questions are of central importance to scholars, as well as policy makers, interested in the causes, consequences, and remedies of social inequalities. In three streams of research, Eunmi examines 1) organizational responses to social demands for gender equality, 2) the effectiveness of organizational practices to address gender inequality, and 3) various forms of workplace gender inequality under different institutional contexts across industrial societies.