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Neoliberal Motherhood during the Pandemic

Some reflections


In this article, I argue that there are at least three essential elements that inform the idealized mother figure today and I reflect upon the effects the COVID-19 pandemic has on each of these elements. The three essential elements in the contemporary understanding of motherhood reflect neoliberal concerns and are related to mothers’ unpaid work, the female body and mothers’ participation in the labour market. These three elements have been distilled with the help of secondary literature and are based on initial observations and interview results that had been conducted as part of an ongoing research project on contemporary motherhood practices of upper-middle-class mothers from Switzerland, Turkey and Germany. Consequently, the focus in this article lies on upper-class and upper-middle-class women. In contrast to optimistic visions that envision the end of neoliberalism, I argue that the neoliberal understanding of motherhood is likely to persist and to re-emerge as the dominant model of motherhood in the wake of the pandemic.


Deutschland, Eltern, Familiensituation, Länderübergreifend, Schweiz, Theoretischer Text, Türkei


Güney-Frahm, I. (2020). Neoliberal Motherhood during the Pandemic. Some reflections, Gender, Work and Organization, 27, 847–856.

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