Attitudes towards parental employment

Ralina Panova, Federal Institute for Population Research, Germany
Isabella Buber-Ennser, Wittgenstein Centre (IIASA, VID/ÖAW, WU)

Gender roles and values of children play an increasingly important role in terms of explaining cross cultural differences in fertility decisions. With the begin of the Second Demographic Transition the traditional male breadwinner model is being transformed into more gender-equal family models. Especially in terms of education and market employment women have opportunities nearly equivalent to those of men. Although more mothers with young children are in paid work than in the past, the employment rate of mothers varies within Europe. Only if the model of the working mother is largely accepted in a society and under condition of favourable institutional framework there would be high level of gender equality in families and fewer difficulties in reconciliation of work and family. Acceptance of the model of the working mother and availability of childcare facilities are crucial for gender equality. Based on the Generations and Gender Survey (GGS) data this paper studies attitudes towards parental employment in twelve European countries and Australia. In a multivariate framework we examine how the acceptance of external childcare differs according to gender and stage of Second Demographic Transition in a country. We focus on individuals up to age of 45 years and analyze 66,455 men and women in total. Analyses are carried out for men and women as well as for both sexes separately and for all countries as well as for each country separately. The country-specific ranking in terms of traditional attitudes goes along with the expectations derived from the Second Demographic Transition theory concerning the stage of SDT in a country. We find large diversity in the level of traditionalism among the eastern European countries and large gender differences. The individual characteristics confirm the findings from previous literature. Analyses carried out for each country separately shows differences in the effects of socio-demographic characteristics.

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Presented in Session 51: Labour force participation and family