08.02.03. What are the social norms and traditions of family care? Are there gender roles associated with family care? | Mexico

08.02.03. What are the social norms and traditions of family care? Are there gender roles associated with family care? | Mexico

13 Jul 2022

Cultural norms towards care for older adults, children, and people with disabilities are still strong, with a large proportion of individuals stating that the family should have the main responsibility for caring. However, economic and social changes in the last years make these expectations increasingly difficult to meet (López-Ortega & Gutiérrez-Robledo, 2015). In a context with practically no publicly funded support for carers available nationally, especially for those caring for older adults and people with disabilities, families/unpaid carers provide the largest proportion of care in the country. Strong gender roles imply that within families, most care is taken up by women. In addition, women frequently take up most of other domestic activities (cleaning, washing, etc.) and increasingly, try to obtain some reconciliation between all these household responsibilities and their own individual development through education and work outside the household (Barrios Márquez AY & Barrios Márquez, 2016; Pedrero Nieto, 2004). As a result of the demographic transition and often perceived as a last-resource option, an increasing number of men have been observed to provide care for their spouses (Giraldo-Rodríguez et al., 2019; Nance et al., 2018).


Barrios Márquez AY, & Barrios Márquez, O. (2016). Participación femenina en el mercado laboral de México al primer trimestre de 2016. Economía Actual, 9(3), 41–45.

Giraldo-Rodríguez, L., Guevara-Jaramillo, N., Agudelo-Botero, M., Mino-León, D., & López-Ortega, M. (2019). Qualitative exploration of the experiences of informal care-givers for dependent older adults in Mexico City. Ageing and Society, 39(11), 2377–2396. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0144686X18000478

López-Ortega, M., & Gutiérrez-Robledo, L. M. (2015). Percepciones y valores en torno a los cuidados de las personas adultas mayores. In L. Gutiérrez Robledo & L. Giraldo (Eds.), Realidades y expectativas frente a la nueva vejez. Encuesta Nacional de Envejecimiento. (pp. 113–133). Instituto de Investigaciones Jurídicas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.

Nance, D. C., Rivero May, M. I., Flores Padilla, L., Moreno Nava, M., & Deyta Pantoja, A. L. (2018). Faith, Work, and Reciprocity: Listening to Mexican Men Caregivers of Elderly Family Members. American Journal of Men’s Health, 12(6), 1985–1993. https://doi.org/10.1177/1557988316657049

Pedrero Nieto, M. (2004). Género, trabajo doméstico y extradoméstico en México. Una estimación del valor económico del trabajo doméstico. In Estudios Demográficos y Urbanos (Vol. 19, pp. 413–446). https://www.redalyc.org/pdf/312/31205605.pdf