Volume 32 - Article 30 | Pages 835–858  

What is your couple type? Gender ideology, housework sharing, and babies

By Arnstein Aassve, Giulia Fuochi, Letizia Mencarini, Daria Mendola


Background: It is increasingly acknowledged that not only gender equality but also gender ideology plays a role in explaining fertility in advanced societies. In a micro perspective, the potential mismatch between gender equality (i.e., the actual sharing taking place in a couple) and gender ideology (i.e., attitudes and beliefs regarding gender roles) may drive childbearing decisions.

Objective: This paper assesses the impact of consistency between gender equality in attitudes and equality in the division of household labour on the likelihood of having another child, for different parities.

Methods: Relying on two-wave panel data of the Bulgarian, Czech, French, Hungarian, and Lithuanian Generations and Gender Surveys, we build a couple typology defined by gender attitudes and housework-sharing. The typology identifies four types of couple: 1) gender-unequal attitudes and gender-unequal housework-sharing; 2) gender-equal attitudes and gender-unequal housework-sharing; 3) gender-unequal attitudes and gender-equal housework-sharing; 4) gender-equal attitudes and gender-equal housework-sharing. The couple types enter into a logistic regression model on childbirth.

Results: The impact of the typology varies with parity and gender: taking as reference category the case of gender-equal attitudes and gender-equal division of housework, the effect of all the other couple types on a new childbirth is strong and negative for the second child and female respondents.

Conclusions: The consistency between gender ideology and actual partners’ housework-sharing is only favourable for childbearing as long as there is gender equality in both the dimensions.

Author's Affiliation

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