Care has a long history of being highly gendered, with unpaid care work falling mostly on the shoulders of women. Some of this is biology, of course; the impact of pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding shape the way mothers interact with their children from the very start.1 But much of this is socially constructed–though great strides have been made in gender equality, women are still often expected to be the primary caregivers in doctor’s offices, the ones to procure services for aging relatives, and/or manage the countless tasks involved in keeping a household running. As a result, care-oriented products and services have typically de-prioritized men, actively targeting women as their primary buyers and users instead. When in fact men are already making 280B+ of care purchases today, and hold immense potential for entrepreneurs if they were actively targeted and designed for them.
We believe that those building in the care economy must think differently about both the market and men’s role in it as an important consumer segment. While it is true that men on average spend less time than women on care, dynamics are changing. The Pew Research on Social and Demographic Trends reports that fathers more than doubled their time spent on housework (4 vs 10 hours/week) and child care (2.5 vs 7 hours/week) in the last 50 years.