Gender, culture and caring

In Section 1, you looked at the Equality Act (2010) and its nine protected characteristics: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, and sex. Some students may have one or more ‘protected characteristic’ in addition to their caring role, which can put them at further risk of disadvantage and discrimination.

We all have underlying attitudes and assumptions about people and groups that we may not be aware of. This is called unconscious bias. For example, you may make assumptions that female students, or students from certain cultures, are ‘naturally’ more caring and therefore less likely to need support. This assumption could reinforce inequalities and discrimination experienced by these groups of students.

Women – especially the poorest and most marginalized – carry out the majority of paid and unpaid care work within and outside households. This is primarily a result of a society that sees women as the main carers for families and communities. Such expectations contribute to the unequal distribution of care work between men and women from childhood, through to adulthood and old age.

(Galandini and Ferrer, 2020)

Disability and mental health