Motherhood, employment, and the dynamics of women’s attitudes towards traditional gender-role views

Publication type

Conference Paper

Author

Muzhi Zhou

Publication date

Summary

This article investigates the dynamics of women’s attitudes towards traditional gender-role views from the perspective of their conflicting roles as workers and mothers. It examines the independent and joint effects of employment and motherhood on women’s gender-role attitudes by using data from the United Kingdom Household Longitudinal Study (1991 to 2013). Results of fixed effects models find that neither motherhood nor employment has a direct influence on women’s gender-role attitudes; however, changes in gender-role attitudes are observed when employment and motherhood statuses are jointly considered. Specifically, there is no association between attitude change and change in employment status for childless women. Instead, substantial attitude differences are observed among full-time, part-time, and non-working mothers. Also, women are less traditional after the transition to motherhood than before when motherhood is combined with full-time employment, whereas they are more traditional after the transition to motherhood than before when motherhood coincides with withdrawal from the labour force. These results remain robust after considering potential feedback from earlier attitudes. This article demonstrates that changes in women’s gender-role attitudes are to a certain extent due to the incompatibility between their employment and childrearing responsibilities.

Subjects

Psychology, Labour Market, Childbearing: Fertility, Life Course Analysis, Social Attitudes, Sociology Of Households and Caregiving

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  1. Motherhood, employment, and the dynamics of women’s gender attitudes