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The re-emergence of childcare as a women’s issue? Analyzing gender in Australian and Canadian COVID-19 childcare policymaking

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Richardson, B., Cook, K., Breitkreutz, R. & Wu, B.
Publication Date: 
10 May 2023


Canada and Australia, two liberal welfare states whose market-based ECEC systems consistently rank poorly on international measures, embraced similar short-term childcare policy responses to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic: widespread closures, reduced capacity of centers, establishment of publicly funded emergency childcare programs for essential workers, and short-term wage subsidies for essential workers (sometimes including educators). Rooted in a feminist political economy (FPE) theoretical framework and using a what-is-the-problem-represented-to-be (WPR) methodological approach, this article explores the extent to which the first and second “waves” of the COVID-19 pandemic policy responses in Canada and Australia framed childcare as a concern about gendered, reproductive labor within political representations of the policy problems to be solved.