Symposium 6- Young people’s gendered caring: crossing boundaries, shaping futures

Convenor: Dr. Geraldine Boyle, Senior Lecturer, Open University. 

Discussant: Dr. Eugenia Caracciolo di Torella, University of Leicester

This symposium will examine the gendered expectations and experiences that characterise young people’s caring. The contributors are members of the International research network on young people’s gendered caring, led by the Open University. We will consider how young people and related services respond to familial, socio-cultural, policy and legal boundaries. 

Adopting an intersectional lens, the papers will consider how gendered caring in early life intersects with other dimensions of identity to  shape young people’s futures.

Title, presenter & synopsis of each paper: 

  1. Dr. Başak Akkan, Istanbul Bilgi University, Turkey

Gendered unpaid care work in Turkey: intersectional inequalities of gender, class and age 

In Turkey, NEET women and girls who are neither engaged in employment nor enrolled in education are heavily occupied with unpaid work (domestic and care). This care work needs public recognition to understand the social inequalities concerning being a NEET in highly gendered and familialist contexts like Turkey. This paper explores care as an inequality-enhancing phenomenon incorporating the multiple inequalities of gender, class, and age.

  1. Dr. Geraldine Boyle, Open University, UK: 

Caring as young adults, creating new futures? 

This paper draws on qualitative studies undertaken in England with young adult carers and the services that support them. How young people become involved in caring and what scope they have to choose different futures as adults will be discussed. An intersectional lens will be used to explore how social inequalities influence the likelihood of becoming a young adult carer, but also their choice over continuing caring in adulthood. The role of governmental policy in promoting or constraining young people’s agency will be discussed. 

  1. Elena Guggiari, Kalaidos University, Switzerland: 

Young Carers in Switzerland: Awareness and support increase but young males remain hard to reach. 

In Switzerland, 8% of children between 9 and 15 years old are young carers (YC). Switzerland finds itself on a preliminary level of awareness and policy responses to YCs (Leu et al, 2022). Awareness has been increasing and some national and regional support offers have been developed. Although almost half of young carers in Switzerland are young men, some support offers primarily reach female YCs. A study consisting of interviews with male YCs and experts aims to understand why. 

  1. Dr. Trudi Cameron, University of Nottingham, UK: 

Becoming young carers of stroke survivors

This paper explores the lived experience of children becoming young carers of stroke survivors. A survey of stroke survivors support identified that most of the young carers were female, reflecting that caring is a gendered phenomenon. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with young carers. None of them had been formally identified as young carers and they were not in receipt of any formal support. However, they were all working in a bi-directional relationship with the well parent to shape a new way of being to accommodate the changes wrought by stroke.