Gendering occupation and fertility: a comparison between women’s and men’s childbearing behavior by occupational branches

Gunnar Andersson, Stockholm University
Gerda R. Neyer, Stockholm University

Recent research has shown remarkable differences in childbearing outcomes by women’s educational field. This raises three questions: Are the results for educational fields produced by the occupations which women have over their life course? Do we find similar patterns among men, and if so, how are these patterns related to the sex segregation in occupations? Finally, how does the development of occupational branches affect childbearing behavior of women and men? Our study provides the first empirical insight into the links between occupational branches and childbearing behavior from a gender perspective; it offers the opportunity to contribute to a better theoretical understanding of the relationship between gender, employment, and fertility. We access Danish register data on childbearing histories of all women and men born since 1945 and residing in Denmark during 1981-2001. These data were linked to corresponding data on employment and occupational histories. We grouped the occupational branches into 49 occupations. All results are based on event-history analyses of the first, second and third-birth intensities of these women and men. Our study reveals that women in female dominated and highly male dominated occupations have higher childbearing risks than others. Men in female dominated branches have low fertility. The highest childbearing risks among men are found in the metal industry. Similar to previous research on the impact of educational fields on fertility, we find low fertility among women and men in libraries, the beauty-business and personal services, restaurants and media. This supports the assumption that job requirements in these occupations are not conducive to childbearing, neither for women nor for men. Childbearing risks were also lower for women occupied in expanding occupational branches, but there is no clear link between men’s fertility and the development of their branch. Expanding branches comprised occupations regarded as little conducive to family life.

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Presented in Session 3: Employment, work-family balance and fertility

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