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Recognising Female Unpaid Carers

The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is ‘Inspire Inclusion’, designed to encourage everyone to recognize the unique perspectives and contributions of women from all walks of life, including those from marginalized communities.

We would like to take this opportunity to recognise and celebrate all those women who also provide unpaid care to a family member or friend who otherwise could not cope without support.

According to the 2021 Census, 59% of unpaid carers are women. Women are more likely to become carers and to provide more hours of unpaid care than men. More women than men provide high intensity care at ages when they would expect to be in paid work (Petrillo and Bennett, 2022).

We suspect that there are far more women taking on an unpaid caring role than the Census has stated because not everyone sees the tasks that they are doing for someone as being that of a Carer.

Recognising that you are a Carer
Not everyone likes to see or label themselves as a Carer or maybe a health professional or social worker has not identified you as someone’s Carer. You may see the help that you provide as your duty or part of being a:

  • wife
  • partner
  • mother
  • daughter
  • daughter-in-law
  • granddaughter
  • grandmother
  • sister sister-in-law
  • auntie
  • niece
  • friend
  • neighbour
  • step-mother or
  • step-daughter.

Many Carers view their relationships with the person they care for as a family relationship or friendship and don’t necessarily see themselves as a ‘carer’ who may need more support. Here’s what some Carers said in Carers UK’s State of Caring Report:

“I thought it was just part of my role as a wife.”

“I thought it was just part of being a parent then realised, after having a second child that things were different and things I was doing for my older son was caring for his needs and not just being his mum.”

“It wasn’t until I was told he may be able to apply for DLA (as was) that I put down in writing all the needs he had and realised how much I was providing over and above the usual parental role. To this day, 20 years later, I still meet families all the time who do not consider themselves carers when they provide hours and hours of supplemental support for their autistic children. We are not encouraged to think of ourselves at any point in the process.”

71% of Carers stated that seeing themselves primarily as a family member or friend was a barrier to identifying themselves as a Carer. In fact, female Carers were less likely to recognise their caring role immediately (29%) than male carers (36%).

However, you like to identify yourself as, if you are providing unpaid care to someone due to a disability, serious illness, frailty or addiction, we’re here to helpRegister with Birmingham Carers Hub for free and start getting the support you are entitled to and deserve today. Complete the registration form, or to speak to one of our advisors call 0333 006 9711 (low call rate).