Conference Agenda

RN13_07b: Work-family balance and work-family conflicts III
Thursday, 22/Aug/2019:
4:00pm - 5:30pm

Session Chair: Karin Jarnkvist, Mid Sweden University
Session Chair: Gert Thielemans, Universiteit Antwerpen
Location: UP.2.219
University of Manchester Building: University Place, Second Floor Oxford Road


Motherhood and Fatherhood in the 21st Century - In Search of Orientation and a Consistent New Gender Order

Detlev Lück, Anna Dechant, Kerstin Ruckdeschel, Sabine Diabaté

Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB), Germany

This paper empirically investigates and theoretically reflects the current state of change of mother and father roles, identifying a conflict between diverging expectations for both, women and men. Analyses include fixed-effects regression, based on the two-wave panel-study “Familienleitbilder” (2012, 2016) in Germany. Theoretical reflections take Germany as a case study with similarities to several other late modern societies in Europe. After decades of decline of the male breadwinner model, still no consistent arrangement has been established that would, at the same time, be culturally accepted, institutionally supported and effectively allowing the reconciliation of paid work and care work for both parents. Subjective attitudes strongly favour a gender-equal division of responsibilities. At the same time, young adults perceive strong normative expectations to live up to gender roles of the mid 20th century: being full-time available for the child, as a mother, or providing enough income to support the family, as a father. Particularly for childless adults and young parents, the perceived expectations are overburdening and impossible to realise. This holding on to “old” expectations, while already welcoming “new” ones, is causing stress, frustration and disorientation. It is in line with and presumably mutually causally related to the institutional support that has expanded, but is still far away from allowing gender-equal forms of reconciliation. Following Birgit Pfau-Effinger’s theory of gender arrangements, it can be assumed that the German cultural-institutional arrangement of organising paid work and care work is in transition and has not yet transformed into a new consistent model.

Designing Individual Parental Leave for Fathers-Promoting Gender Equality

Elin Christine Kvande, Berit Brandth

Norwegian University of Science and Technolgy, Norway

Family policy is seen to be one of the most active fields of social policy in Western welfare states (Daly, 2011; Matzke & Ostner, 2010), and incentives to draw men towards life courses with more care responsibilities are high on the agenda (Ray, Gornick, & Schmitt, 2010; Wall & O’Brien, 2016). Research on social policy in European welfare states has increasingly focused on the norm of individualization, implying that family policy is focusing on individual family members, especially when gender issues are on the agenda (Lewis 2001, Matzke and Ostner, 2010). Based on the long experience with having an individual fathers’ quota as part of the parental leave system in Norway, the paper will analyze how this works in order to promote gender equality. The use of the father’s quota over the years shows that it has been successful as a measure to get fathers to take parental leave. After the father’s quota was introduced, there was a dramatic increase in the proportion of fathers who took leave the following years, from 4% in 1993 to 85% in 2000. The Norwegian experience with a special fathers’ quota is that taking leave has become a norm for what men do when they become fathers. In order to understand why the quota works so well, the paper will address the following research question: How do the design elements of the fathers’ quota work in order to promote gender equality? The paper is based on a qualitative interview study from 2011 and 2012 with Norwegian fathers who had used the fathers’ quota.

Work-Family Balance Policies And Gender Role Attitudes: Evidence From European Countries

Isabella Crespi1, Sabine Israel2, Vera Lomazzi3

1University of Macerata, Italy; 2GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences , Cologne, Germany; 3GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences , Cologne, Germany

Gender equality is related to work and family issues because the traditional expectation that women will be responsible for their children can be a significant barrier to women’s employment opportunities, contributing in the perpetuation of the gendered division of labor, power and roles. What is the effect of work-family balance policies, inspired by the gender mainstreaming perspective, on the individual support to gender equality? This study relies on the assumption that the context of opportunities provided by work-family balance policies affects the individual attitudes towards gender roles, considered as indicators of the individual support for gender equality. Compared to previous research, the study adopts a more articulated definition of opportunity structure, which includes the national income level and social norms on gender attitudes, measures of gender mainstreaming policies implemented at the company level (flexibility), and different work-family balance policies in support of the dual earners/dual caregivers family model (parental leave schemes, childcare provisions). The effects of these factors are estimated performing multilevel analysis. Gender role attitudes and micro-level controls are taken from the Eurobarometer for all 28 members of the EU, while the macro-indicators stem from Eurostat, European Quality of Work Survey, and OECD. Our results show that both institutional and workplace arrangements supporting the dual earner/dual caregiver family model increase egalitarian gender role attitudes by broadening the choice of men and women for care and paid work and a combination thereof. This is particularly true for the availability of formal childcare for 0-3 year olds, among the institutional factors, as well as the flexibility of the work schedule, among the work-place factors.