Volume 48 - Article 29 | Pages 849–866  

Introduction to the Special Collection on The new roles of women and men and implications for families and societies

By Livia Sz. Oláh, Rudolf Richter, Irena Kotowska

This article is part of the Special Collection 31 "The new roles of women and men and implications for families and societies"


Background: This is the introduction to a special collection of articles produced within a large-scale collaborative research project, FamiliesAndSocieties, funded by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme in 2013‒2017.

Objective: The special collection addresses (1) the gendered outcomes of employment for fertility, well-being, and partnership stability, and (2) the new role of men in various socioeconomic positions and its implications for family life.

Methods: International micro-level datasets (ESS, GGS) are analyzed in two comparative studies, while four country-case studies rely on country-specific datasets. The Swedish study also involves analyses of interview narratives of parental couples.

Contribution: The articles highlight the evolving importance of economic uncertainty in fertility decisions and well-being, especially as related to limited changes in the role of breadwinner for men, and the role of policy context for women, including regarding links between women’s employment and divorce. The results indicate that women have entered the public sphere to stay, but this only strengthens families if accompanied by relevant policy support. Renewed ideals of mothers being the primary carers of their children are found to hinder the realization of new fatherhood aspirations, while a clear socioeconomic gradient in men’s family involvement in both first and post-divorce relationships may further enhance social inequalities.

Author's Affiliation

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

Economic uncertainty and first-birth intentions in Europe
Volume 39 - Article 28

Should governments in Europe be more aggressive in pushing for gender equality to raise fertility? The second "YES"
Volume 24 - Article 9

Reconciling studies of men’s gender attitudes and fertility: Response to Westoff and Higgins
Volume 22 - Article 8

Men's childbearing desires and views of the male role in Europe at the dawn of the 21st century
Volume 19 - Article 56

Sweden: Combining childbearing and gender equality
Volume 19 - Article 28

Poland: Fertility decline as a response to profound societal and labour market changes?
Volume 19 - Article 22

Gender and family stability: Dissolution of the first parental union in Sweden and Hungary
Volume 4 - Article 2

Becoming a Mother in Hungary and Poland during State Socialism
Special Collection 3 - Article 9

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