Academic journal article Journal of Research in Gender Studies

Childrearing in Austria: Work and Family Roles

Academic journal article Journal of Research in Gender Studies

Childrearing in Austria: Work and Family Roles

Article excerpt

Introduction

Differences in social norms with regard to gender and family roles across societies are considerable (Bühlmann et al. 2010; Craig and Mullan 2011; Fodor and Balogh 2010; Kunovich and Kunovich 2008; Liefbroer and Billari 2010; Sobotka 2008). Country-specific conditions for work and family reconciliation, the division of labor and gender ideologies have been theoretically and empirically acknowledged to determine fertility and women's employment (Aassve et al. 2015; McDonald 2000a; Neyer et al. 2013). Early research on attitudes towards maternal employment was mainly carried out in the US and in Sweden (Banaszak and Putzer 1993; Hultaker 1981). Norms and values about the gender division of labor turned out to influence women's participation in the labor market (Pfau-Effinger 1998). Gender roles and gender division of tasks have been associated with fertility and childbearing and studies in the realm of demography are increasingly paying attention to gender roles and reconciliation of family and work to explain variation in fertility (Bernardi et al. 2013; Gauthier 1996; Gauthier 2007; Thévenon and Gauthier 2011). Fertility research suggested that difficulties in balancing work and family is one of the factors leading to low fertility rates in several developed countries (Atoh 2008; Fagnani 2002; Matysiak and Vignoli 2013; Neyer et al. 2013). Nevertheless, a study for the US provides little support for the idea that working women in the United States who have difficulty in balancing work and family delay or forgo having additional children (Liu and Hynes 2012). Approaches have been developed to quantify and compare conditions for work and family reconciliation (Matysiak and Weziak-Bialowolska 2013). Another vein of literature in the realm of gender roles focuses on men's involvement in their families (Duvander and Andersson 2006; Goldscheider et al. 2014; Lappegârd 2008; Liefbroer and Billari 2010; Moss 2012; O'Brien 2009). Fathers' active role in parenting has a positive effect on further childbearing (Duvander and Andersson 2006). The new thinking about fathers has been reflected also at the political level aiming at a balanced participation of women and men in family and working life (European Communities 2000). Recently, paternal engagement has been researched in Japan, partly in the context with the country's low fertility (Ishii-Kuntz and Maryanski 2003; Ishii-Kuntz 2013; Iwata 2003).

Austria has traditionally been characterized by a separate gender roles model, contributing to the well-being of children, dependent elderly and families in general, but reducing female labor force participation and confining women in special roles. Growing aspirations for a less genderdifferentiated and more gender-balanced society have been identified as a key challenge in the 2013 OECD Economic Survey on Austria. OECD regularly carries out surveys in its member states to assess their recent eco- nomic performance. A key dimension for economic growth and wellbeing is progress with gender equality. Therefore, the current paper reviews recent insights on gender mainstreaming for childrearing in Austria, prepared for the Austrian OECD country report. Providing detailed countryspecific insights on gender roles as well as work and family roles is important to understand the prevalent country context. The aim of this paper is to synthesize insights in the triangular interaction between labor market participation, well-being and parenthood in the context of demography.

Enrolment in Childcare

Most recent available data on enrolment in childcare by age of the child have been published by the Austrian Institute for Family Studies (Dörfler et al. 2014). Based on administrative data, Austria has a lower rate of enrolment in childcare for children below age three than France, Germany and Sweden. The enrolment amounted to 23.3% in 2013 (see Figure 1) and has doubled during the last six years, from 11.8% in 2007. Enrolment in Germany is currently about 30%. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.