The parenthood effect on gender inequality: explaining the change in paid and domestic work when British couples become parents
This study examines the importance of prenatal characteristics of men and women in couples for how they change their time spent on housework and paid work after the transition to parenthood. We focus on both partners’ earnings and gender role attitudes as explanatory factors. Previous research explored the importance of women’s relative income and both partners’ gender role attitudes for the extent to which the division of labour becomes more traditional among new parents. We extend this literature by including women’s absolute earnings, which may be crucial given the very high costs of formal childcare in Britain. The statistical analysis of 310 couples is based on 16 waves of the British Household Panel Survey (1992–2007) and applies OLS models with Heckman selection correction. The findings suggest that higher absolute wages and more egalitarian attitudes of women before motherhood reduce the shift towards a more traditional division of labour after couples have their first child. In the British context, higher relative wages of women compared to their partners are not significant.
European Sociological Review
Volume and page numbers
29 , 74 -85
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