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New maps of gender equality? Gender ideals and practices in a comparative perspective

Research project In the project we analyse the prevalence of the second half of the gender revolution: men's involvement in the home and family. Approaching this from a cross-national, over-time perspective, we study attitudes and behaviours regarding the gendered division of work, with a special focus on men’s involvement in the home sphere. We use data from the International Social Survey Program (1988-22).

The aim of the project is to analyse the prevalence of the second half of the gender revolution. We systematically examine attitudes and behaviours concerning women’s and men’s work and family life, across countries, over-time and among social groups, focusing on gender equality in work and family, social care organization and responsibility, and preferences about family formation. Theoretically, the project draws on cross-national welfare research; an area providing comprehensive knowledge about how institutional arrangements can affect gender relations. Data come from the ISSP (1988-22).

Head of project

Ida Öun
Associate professor
E-mail
Email

Project overview

Project period:

2022-01-01 2024-12-31

Participating departments and units at Umeå University

Department of Sociology

Research area

Sociology

External funding

Swedish Research Council

Project description

A major post-war societal change was women’s entry into employment – the first half of the gender revolution. A phenomenon that sparked great political and academic interest. This project analyses the prevalence of the second half of the gender revolution: men's involvement in the home and family – a structural change that would allow men and women to engage in family life and employment on equal terms. Applying a cross-national, over-time perspective, we study attitudes and behaviours regarding the gendered division of work, with a focus on men’s involvement in the home sphere. Research suggests that a development towards equal gender relations in work and family would be beneficial for societies, both socially and economically. We use survey data from the ISSP (1988-2022).

We examine three central areas.

  1. Gender equality in work and family: families' desired and actual allocation of paid and unpaid work, with a specific emphasis on men's responsibilities in the home and care.

  2. Social care organization and responsibility: opinions about parental leave and who should be the main provider of care services – the state, family or market actors?

  3. Preferences about family formation: preferences regarding the ideal number of children, and reasons why individuals want to/do not want to have children.

We approach these areas through three analytical dimensions: a) attitudes, b) behaviour, and c) the propensity for change. Studying attitudes is a tool to gain knowledge about prevailing ideals and norms. Focusing on behaviour is a means to study the extent to which ideals and norms are anchored in society. Changes over time and differences among social categories within countries are studied as measures of propensity for change.

Theoretically, we draw on the field of cross-national welfare research; an area providing important knowledge about how different types of institutional arrangements can affect gender relations.

External funding