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HomeEconomyHolding up more than half the sky: women and childcare in Mongolia

Holding up more than half the sky: women and childcare in Mongolia

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, social norms in Mongolia have long dictated that women shoulder the heavier burden of childcare and domestic work. COVID-19 has not only laid bare this reality, but has exacerbated it.

As the pandemic struck, the Government of Mongolia responded quickly by shutting schools as early as January 2020, leaving many parents in a difficult predicament. The additional work of home schooling saw the care burden increase significantly, for both men and women. However, deeply entrenched patriarchal norms and structures meant that this had a disproportionate impact on women. Recent qualitative research by The Asia Foundation revealed that working mothers had to make major changes to adapt, such as closing their businesses, reducing operations, and quitting their jobs.

Many working mothers, however, did not have the option of leaving work to care for their children, either full- or part-time. Women in the public…

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