Women are bearing the brunt of the Government’s inaction on social care


Age UK

Publication date: 

8th Mar 2019

Women are bearing the brunt of the Government’s inaction on social care, says Age UK, with ‘sandwich carers’ especially badly hit

On International Women’s Day 2019 Age UK warns that women are generally being hurt the most by the lack of care and support

‘Sandwich carers’ are under particular pressure and most (68%) are women

This International Women’s Day marks the 2nd anniversary of the Government’s broken promise to fix social care with a Green Paper

Today is International Woman’s Day and Age UK is warning that it is women who are generally paying the highest price for the Government’s continued inaction on social care.

‘Sandwich carers’ – those caring for one or more under-16 as well as a parent or other older relative with care needs – are one of the groups hit hardest of all and are often under huge stress. The overwhelming majority of sandwich carers are women and they face horrible choices in trying to juggle their caring commitments with working, or giving up work and sacrificing their own financial interests as a result.

In a new report entitled Breaking Point: The social care burden on women, published to coincide with International Women’s Day this Friday, Age UK sets out the enormous challenges facing many women who are carers.

The report shows how women are going above and beyond to care for loved ones because good, reliable social care support simply isn’t there for them. This is no small problem and the impact on women who are sandwich carers is often especially severe. The report’s new analysis of sandwich carers finds:

· There are 1.25 million sandwich carers in the UK. These are people caring for an older relative as well as bringing up one or more children aged under 16. Most (68% - 850,743) are women

· Sandwich carers ages range from 20s to 60s, but those aged 35-44 are the most likely to be carers, with more than a third (35%) of all sandwich carers being in this age group

· Three quarters (73%) of sandwich carers provide under 10 hours of caring a week and one in fourteen (7%) over 35 hours per week – that’s 88,391 sandwich carers providing more than 35 hours of care to loved ones each week.

Eight out of ten (84%) sandwich carers providing over 35 hours per week are women - that’s 74,399 women providing more than 35 hours a week of care to loved ones whilst also raising a family.

· The oldest sandwich carers (55-64) provide the most care the most, with three in ten (29%) of this age group providing more than 20 hours of caring a week.

· In total, three quarters (78%) of sandwich carers are in paid work, and even among sandwich carers providing 35 or more hours of care a week half (49%) are working.[1]