Even though women have always done most of the caregiving, both paid and unpaid, it’s never been just a women’s issue.
The pandemic made that undeniable. And when Joe Biden presented his new caregiving plan on Tuesday — speaking about his experience as a single father and describing caregiving policies as an economic necessity — he made it explicit.
“This is the so-called sandwich generation,” he said. “It includes everyone from an 18-year-old daughter caring for a mom who suddenly gets sick to a 40-year-old dad raising his child and caring for his own aging parents. The joy and love are always there. But it’s hard. I know it’s hard.”
Treating caregiving the way he proposed — as labor that is respected, worthy of a living wage and an economic necessity for everyone — would be a significant economic shift in the United States.
Nearly everybody cares for family at some point. In two-thirds of married couples with children, both parents work. Nearly half of adults in their 40s and 50s are caring for both children and aging parents. Yet more than in other rich countries, the United States has struggled to meet the needs of people who have both jobs and caregiving responsibilities.
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