Three Dimensions of the Relationship between Gender Role Attitudes and Fertility Intentions
preprintposted on 26.03.2021, 19:52 by Trude Lappegård, Gerda Neyer, Daniele Vignoli
The relationship between gender role attitudes and fertility intentions is highly debated among social scientists. We emphasize the need for a multi-dimensional theoretical and empirical approach extending the two-step behavioral gender revolution approach towards a three-step attitudinal gender revolution approach. Making use of the Generations and Gender Survey of eight European countries we demonstrate the usefulness of such an approach. First, gender roles concern different areas of life requiring that we distinguish between three essential dimensions of gender roles: gender roles in the public sphere, mothers’ role in the family, and fathers’ role in the family. We show that attitudes towards gender roles in the public sphere and mothers’ role in the family create more variation in fertility intentions than attitudes towards fathers’ role in the family. Second, gender equality affects women’s and men’s lives differently and our results show that gender role attitudes create more variation in women’s fertility intentions than in men’s intentions. Last, people’s expectations about gender roles and family life vary across context. In the Western European countries we find examples of a negative association between egalitarian gender role attitudes and fertility intentions, while in the Eastern European countries we find examples of a positive relationship.