Mothers’ labour force attachment in Europe: evidence from a multi-country survey

Anne H. Gauthier, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI)

The labour force participation of mothers has increased in all European countries during the past decades approaching or surpassing the target set as part of the European Union’s Lisbon Strategy. Yet, obstacles to the combination of work and family responsibilities still persist resulting in major gender gaps. In this paper, we aim at examining the factors that help or constraint mothers in their employment decision. In particular, and drawing from data from the Generation and Gender Survey, we examine the intention of mothers to enter or to exit the labour market used here as a proxy for mothers’ labour force attachment. We focus on four subgroups of mothers: those employed, those currently on maternity or parental leave, those unemployed, and stay-at-home mothers. Preliminary results suggest a high level of heterogeneity in mothers’ employment intention both within- and between-countries. In particular, the analysis highlights the role of factors such as the mothers’ education level, work/family preference, family support, and work conditions. The cross-national data allow also us to examine the role of family policies including leave and childcare policies.

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Presented in Poster Session 2