Recent scholarship suggests that women have disproportionately been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic amidst lockdowns and school closures which have altogether increased women’s caregiving burden, unpaid housework and stress levels. Notwithstanding its negative impacts, this article argues that the lockdowns and school closures related to COVID-19 also had beneficial outcomes for some working mothers who had to combine work and family roles. Drawing from qualitative interviews with 39 married working mothers in both formal and informal employment, we find that these women during and after the partial lockdowns in urban Ghana, experienced various outcomes of work-to-family enrichment (increased time spent with family, self-rated improved sleep health, financial security), family-to-work enrichment (reduced family demands, improved work performance and output) and a mix of both (cultivation of life skills, greater personal satisfaction and happiness). Applying a role expansionist framework, we show the ‘positive side’ of the pandemic for married working mothers who had to juggle work and family demands.
Bibliographical noteThis work was supported by Research Grants Council, University Grants Committee: [grant number PF18-27289].
The authors are grateful to the editors and the anonymous reviewers for providing helpful comments and suggestions, which substantially improved the paper.
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- work-family enrichment
- work-family intersections
- working mothers
- work–family enrichment
- work–family intersections