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The influence of the division of domestic labour between spouses on fertility in a context of gender equity

22nd May 2009 1pm, University of Southampton 58/2097

Wike Been, University of Groningen

During the last century, fertility levels have fallen well below replacement levels in most industrialized countries. Since these low levels were first recognized as a problem, researchers have focused on it and suggested various explanations. Recently gender equity has been mentioned as an important factor in explaining the low levels of fertility. Although women increasingly participate in the labor market, men?s contribution to domestic tasks has not risen equally, resulting in a triple burden for many women. Before, the unequal division of domestic labor has already been associated with divorce. Now, McDonald (2000) suggests that a discrepancy between the rather high levels of gender equity in individual-oriented institutions (education and labor market) and the rather low levels of gender equity in family-oriented institutions (the family itself), are also an important explanation for the current low levels of fertility. Within my master?s thesis I test this theory using data from the 2002 International Social Survey Program on 26 countries. I use multilevel regression modeling to take both gender equity in the society (GEM-indicator) and in the family (division of domestic tasks) into account and model their effect on the number of children women get during their reproductive life span.