CAIRN-INT.INFO : International Edition

Age-related dependency, i.e. their need for help in daily tasks, has become a new public-policy issue since the beginning of the 1980s. This phenomenon has serious consequences in terms of gender, not only because women experience such difficulties more frequently as a consequence of the gender difference in life expectancy, but also in the sense that the main providers of care and help within families are the women, whether members of the family or professional. Defining a policy in that field is therefore crucial to gender-related equal opportunities. This article first offers the framework of an analysis that highlights gender-related issues within the evolution of welfare systems. It then applies this framework to France in the field of dependence and points out its consequences in terms of gender, whether in private or in professional care-giving activities.

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