Is living the gender contract really a free choice? A cross-national comparison of preferences or constraints in mothers’ and fathers’ participation in paid and unpaid work
AbstractThis article is a cross-national study of the work-family balance in families with dependent children. The countries included are Denmark, Hungary, Italy and the UK. The article aims at investigating the question “why” we still, in all four European countries, seem to live according to a traditional gender role pattern in the division of paid and unpaid work, despites mothers’ entrance on the paid labour market. Women still bear the main responsibility of unpaid work. With preference theory as a starting point, the paper investigates preferences and constraints in relation to mothers’ and fathers’ work- and family lives. The paper relies on qualitative interviews. By using qualitative interviews, the analysis is based on fathers’ and mothers’ articulation of their work-life balance. The design of the interview guide has been inspired by Prue Chamberlayne’s biographical methods. Thus, the analysis is based upon both fathers’ and mothers’personal (life) stories in the four countries.
How to Cite
Olsson, Y. (2012). Is living the gender contract really a free choice? A cross-national comparison of preferences or constraints in mothers’ and fathers’ participation in paid and unpaid work. Qualitative Studies, 3(1), 1–21. https://doi.org/10.7146/qs.v3i1.6270
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