Family-building and female permanence in paid employment: bringing male domestic inputs into focus

Marta Seiz, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)

The past decades have witnessed an increasingly generalized incorporation of women to the labour market, along with an unprecedented expansion of their educational attainment. In most post-industrial societies, however, family-building life course stages continue to prove particularly challenging for female labour force attachment; often eliciting reductions in working time or even complete withdrawal from paid employment. This paper seeks to expand existing research on the contextual and individual-level determinants of the phenomenon by incorporating the intra-household division of labour to the analysis. More specifically, it examines whether men’s domestic contribution exerts any significant influence on women’s propensity to exit the workforce or shift from full-time to part-time employment in connection to family building. To this end, both non-parametric and parametric event history analysis techniques have been applied to longitudinal data from the German Socioeconomic Panel (1984-2009). The analysis reveals that there indeed seems to be a relation between women’s employment transitions after marriage and childbirth, respectively, and their male partners’ housework and childcare effort. Such a link is found to be particularly evident in the case of women’s permanence in full-time work after union formation. Women’s labour supply after childbirth in Germany seems to follow its own strong and somewhat different logic, yet a positive effect of men’s domestic contribution, especially in terms of childcare, is visible as well.

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Presented in Poster Session 1