Compatibility between prolonged education and transition to parenthood. Role of sociopolitical contexts

Cornelia Muresan, Babes-Bolyai University

Educational attainment and enrollment in education are two ways by which education influence transition to parenthood. In times when delay of entry into motherhood is a generalized trend, more time spent in education may explain this tendency. However, not only longer enrollment periods, but also greater education differentiation of labor market opportunities and constraints after completion education, determine women with higher level of education to enter motherhood much later than their contemporaries. If, additionally, the sociopolitical context changes dramatically, as in the case of former socialist-countries after the political turnover, the differences become more pronounced. For Romania and Bulgaria, I compare the state socialism years (the 1980s) with the years of transition to democracy and market economy (the 1990s) and the period of consolidated capitalism (the 2000s). Then I investigate the effect of education on first birth postponement in France and Norway, two other European countries with less dramatic social changes during the same periods. Controlling for marital status substantially changes the role of educational attainment on first birth risks in the former socialist-countries, but does not change too munch the situation for the two other European countries. Data from Generation and Gender Surveys are used. As regards Romania, the decline in first-birth risks after the political turnover applies more so to women with higher level of education than to those with a lower level. If enrollment in education and transition to parenthood remains mostly incompatible regardless the politico-economical context, women’s entry into motherhood is slower after the completion of education than it was before, especially among those with high level of education. The strong immediate effect of completion of studies on increasing first-birth risks is replaced by a further postponement.

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Presented in Poster Session 1