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10 facts about women and caring in the UK on International Women’s Day

The carers movement was founded in 1963 when the Reverend Mary Webster wrote a letter to the newspapers about the difficulties women faced juggling work and caring for ageing parents. 


Today is International Women’s Day, with the theme ‘be bold for change’ we share our top ten facts about caring and its impact on women in the UK:

1) Overall, women are more likely to take on caring roles than men. Of the 6.5 million unpaid carers in the UK 58% - 3.34 million - are women.1

2) Carers UK has calculated that the economic value of the unpaid care provided by women in the UK is estimated to be a massive £77 bn per year.2

3) Female carers are more likely to be providing ‘round the clock’ care, with 60% of those caring for over 50 hours a week being female.3

4) Women are also more likely to be ‘sandwich’ carers - caring for young children and elderly parents at the same time.4

5) Caring falls particularly on women in their 40s, 50s and 60s. 1 in 4 women aged 50-64 has caring responsibilities for older or disabled loved ones.5

6) Women aged 45-54 are more than twice as likely as other carers to have reduced working hours as a result of caring responsibilities.6

7) 72% of those who receive Carer’s Allowance, the main benefit for carers and worth £62.10 a week, are women.7

8) Carers of both genders, but particularly women, are likely to be in ‘elementary occupations’ – process plant and machine operative jobs, or sales, customer services or personal services.8

9) Carers UK research on sandwich carers and the workplace showed that women were four times more likely than men to have given up work because of multiple caring responsibilities.9

10) Women have a 50:50 chance of providing care by the time they are 59; compared with men who have the same chance by the time they are 75 years old.10


1 Census 2011

2 Cite as: Carers UK (2016) 10 facts about women and caring on International Women’s Day - based on analysis from Valuing Carers 2015

3 NHS Information Centre for Health and Social Care (2010) Survey of Carers in Households 2009/10

4 Carers UK (2000) It Could Be You and Carers UK (2014) Caring & Family Finances Inquiry UK Report

5 Census 2011

6 Carers UK (2015) Facts about Carers

7 Carers UK (2015) The Importance of Carer’s Allowance

8 Carers UK (2006) More than a job: working carers: evidence from the 2001 Census

9 Carers UK & Employers for Carers (2012) Sandwich Caring Combining childcare with caring for older or disabled relatives

10 Carers UK (2015) Facts about Carers

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