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Careers of Couples in Contemporary Society: from male breadwinner to dual-earner families


Hans-Peter Blossfeld and Sonja Drobnic

Publication date

01 Oct 2001


This is a systematic international comparative study of the transformation of couples' careers in modern societies. The countries included are Germany, the Netherlands, the Flemish part of Belgium, Italy, Spain, Great Britain, the United States, Sweden, Denmark, Poland, Hungary, and China. Using longitudinal data, this book explores what has and what has not changed for couples in various countries due to women's greater involvement in paid employment. It provides evidence that despite substantial improvement in women's educational attainment and career opportunities in all the countries studies, dimensions of role specialization in dual-earner couples have not undergone transformation to the same extent. Gender role change within the family has generally been asymmetric, so that housework and childcare primarily remain 'women's work'. There are, however, also significant institutional differences among modern societies which determine a country's timing, speed, and pattern of change from the traditional male bread-winner to the dual-earner family model.


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