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Capabilities and childbearing intentions in Europe: the association between work-family reconciliation policies, economic uncertainties and women’s fertility plans
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
2013 (English)In: European Societies: The Official Journal of the European Sociological Association, ISSN 1461-6696, E-ISSN 1469-8307, Vol. 15, no 5, 639-662 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article investigates the association between economic uncertainties, work-family reconciliation policies and women’s short-term childbearing intentions in ten European countries. I introduce the Capability Approach to this issue and argue that short-term childbearing intentions are an indicator of women’s capabilities to start a family or to have additional children. Data from the European Social Survey is used. The analysis reveals that the association between economic uncertainties and short-term childbearing varies by the number of children already born, education and institutional contexts. Being in paid work have a positive impact on childless women’s short-term intentions in some countries, while in other countries, unemployed childless women are those most likely to intend to have a child in the near future. Other aspects of economic uncertainties, namely perceived job and income insecurity, have a negative impact on short-term childbearing intentions, regardless of motherhood status. The analysis also shows that the combination of weaker institutional support for work-family reconciliation, perceived job and income insecurity and low educational skills are associated with lower childbearing intentions, but the pattern across the ten countries varies by motherhood status, and is slightly more evident for childless women. This study has shown the importance of embedding individual decision processes in a broader social societal context.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London: Routledge, 2013. Vol. 15, no 5, 639-662 p.
Keyword [en]
childbearing intentions, capability approach, economic uncertainties, reconciliation policies
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-79495DOI: 10.1080/14616696.2013.798018ISI: 000329983200002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-79495DiVA: diva2:555506
Available from: 2012-09-20 Created: 2012-09-04 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Facets of Work–Life Balance across Europe: How the interplay of institutional contexts, work arrangements and individual resources affect capabilities for having a family, and for being involved in family life
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Facets of Work–Life Balance across Europe: How the interplay of institutional contexts, work arrangements and individual resources affect capabilities for having a family, and for being involved in family life
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this dissertation is to explore various dimensions of work–life balance in Europe. I examine the extent to which institutional factors, working conditions and individual resources influence individuals’ capabilities to have a family and engage in family life. The theoretical framework is inspired by Amartya Sen’s capability framework, a multi-dimensional approach that provides a deeper understanding of the relationship between institutional contexts and individual capabilities. Four studies have been conducted. The first study focuses on women’s short-term childbearing intentions in ten European countries and finds that the association between such intentions and economic uncertainties varies by the policy support for work-family reconciliation in the country as well as individual factors, such as her educational level, and her number of children. The second study addresses the impact of family-friendly working conditions on young adult women’s childbearing behaviour in Sweden, showing the importance of family-friendly working condition for the transition to motherhood of less educated childless women with low income, and for second births of low educated mothers. The third study analyses gender differences in perceived work–home conflict in ten European countries, and the importance of work-family policies and gender norms. I find that gender differences are more pronounced in countries with weaker support for work-family reconciliation and more traditional gender norms. The fourth study focuses on tensions between work and family demands that parents in Hungary and Sweden experience, and on their capabilities to make claims for work–life balance. We find greater agency inequalities for Hungarian parents for claims making for and achievement of work-life balance, in contrast to a strong sense of entitlement to exercise rights to care among Swedish parents, which reflect country variations in policy supports for work−life balance, working time regimes and social norms regarding work and care.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis, 2012. 177 p.
Series
Stockholm studies in sociology, ISSN 0491-0885 ; N.S., 53
Keyword
capability approach, childbearing, family-friendly work, family policies, work–life balance
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-79498 (URN)978-91-87235-01-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2012-11-26, Nordenskiöldsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 1: Submitted. Paper 2: Submitted. Paper 3: Submitted.

Available from: 2012-11-02 Created: 2012-09-04 Last updated: 2015-06-16Bibliographically approved

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