Proposition 1: Although both are family policies, reconciliation policies facilitate women’s employment while financial support policies suppress women’s employment

It is a Dutch tradition that a PhD dissertation contains a leaflet with propositions. I have 10 such propositions, and during the countdown towards my very own PhD defense, on January 10th, I am presenting one each day.

Proposition 1: Although both are family policies, reconciliation policies facilitate women’s employment while financial support policies suppress women’s employment.

The first proposition corresponds to the second Chapter in my dissertation, and provides the first test of a crucial argument in my work: reconciliation policies have markedly different effects on women’s employment than financial support policies to families with children. Indeed, I did find in this Chapter that reconciliation policies close / reduce the size of the motherhood-employment gap, while financial support policies increase the size of the motherhood-employment gap.

This study was published in the Journal of Marriage and Family, and recently gained some exposure on Philip Cohen’s Family Inequality blog. The abstract of the study reads:

This study combined demographic and insti- tutional explanations of women’s employment, describing and explaining the degree to which mothers in industrialized societies are less likely to be employed than women without children. A large number of cross-sectional surveys were pooled, covering 18 Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development countries, 192,484 observations, and 305 country-years between 1975 and 1999. These data were merged with measures of institutional context and analyzed with multilevel logistic regression. The results indicate that, over time, women were increasingly likely to combine motherhood and employment in many, but not all, countries. Both mothers and women with- out children were more likely to be employed in societies with a large service sector and low unemployment. The employment of women without children was generally unaffected by family policies. Mothers were more likely to be employed in societies with extensive reconcilia- tion policies and limited family allowances.

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This is a series on the 10 propositions that are part of my PhD dissertation. These propositions are a Dutch tradition to highlight key findings of a dissertation and some additional insights by the author. My dissertation is titled “Family Policy Outcomes: Combining Institutional and Demographic Explanations of Women’s Employment and Earnings Inequality in OECD countries, 1975-2005″ and I will defend my dissertation on January 10 2014. So, this series is also a count down. Find out more about my dissertation.

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