Women's employment and the realisation of fertility intentions in Hungary and in France

Zsuzsanna Makay, Demographic Research Institute

According to the theory, the difference in the equality in the public sphere and the private sphere between men and women may explain the low fertility in several developed countries. If in the social sphere men and women have equal opportunities while the equality is reduced by the presence of children, then women tend to have fewer children and fertility rates tend to be lower. In Hungary the position of women is similar to men’s in the education system, and the employment rates of women without children are similar to that of men. However, inequality is important in the private life. This appears especially after the birth of children since most women quite labour market for several years after childbirth. The aim of this study is to explain the effects of gender inequity, namely the effects of women’s career interruptions after childbirth on subsequent childbirth. Our research question is the following: among mothers of one children, in which case is the probability to have a second child higher during the five years following the first birth: if they (re)enter labour market after the birth or if they stay at home and devote themselves to their first child. According to the theory we would expect that second births occur more often when women work after the childbirth instead of staying at home and reinforcing gender inequity. A long career interruption may indeed favour gender inequity in the family: women lose their income and it’s them who are responsible for the household and the children while men are the breadwinner of the family. We analyse if this assumption is valid in Hungary, in a country where family policy encourages women to quit their job after childbirth and where most women indeed stay at home for two or three years.

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Presented in Poster Session 2