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Women's determination to combine childbearing and paid employment: How can a qualitative approach help us understand quantitative evidence?

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Author Info

  • Monika Mynarska

    ()
    (Institute of Statistics and Demography, Warsaw School of Economics.)

  • Anna Matysiak

    ()
    (Institute of Statistics and Demography, Warsaw School of Economics.)

Abstract

This paper aims to provide deeper insight into women’s fertility and employment decisions through the exploration of women’s values and beliefs. For our research, we selected Poland, where quantitative studies continuously point to a strong determination among mothers to participate in employment, despite marked institutional obstacles to combining work with childrearing. We demonstrated that motherhood is one of the major goals in women’s lives. Nevertheless, women seek to combine it with employment, and their ability to do so depends on the meaning attached to paid work. Using qualitative data, we identified three such meanings. “Work as an income source” and “work as an attractive activity” are considered desirable and compatible with motherhood, whereas “work as a professional career” precludes childrearing, and is rejected. In addition, our study illustrates how considering values and beliefs can contribute to our understanding of human behaviours, and demonstrates the usefulness of the qualitative approach for this purpose.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute of Statistics and Demography, Warsaw School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 26.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:isd:wpaper:26

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Related research

Keywords: fertility; women’s labour force participation; values and beliefs; qualitative approach; methodological triangulation;

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References

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  1. Tomas Frejka, 2008. "Overview Chapter 5: Determinants of family formation and childbearing during the societal transition in Central and Eastern Europe," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 19(7), pages 139-170, July.
  2. Namkee Ahn & Pedro Mira, . "A note on the changing relationship between fertility and female employment rates in developed countries," Studies on the Spanish Economy 13, FEDEA.
  3. Irena E. Kotowska & Janina Jóźwiak & Anna Matysiak & Anna Baranowska, 2008. "Poland: Fertility decline as a response to profound societal and labour market changes?," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 19(22), pages 795-854, July.
  4. Henriette Engelhardt & Tomas Kögel & Alexia Prskawetz, 2001. "Fertility and women´s employment reconsidered: A macro-level time-series analysis for developed countries, 1960-2000," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2001-021, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  5. FFF1Michaela NNN1Kreyenfeld, 2004. "Fertility Decisions in the FRG and GDR: An Analysis with Data from the German Fertility and Family Survey," Demographic Research Special Collections, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 3(11), pages 275-318, April.
  6. Henriette Engelhardt & Alexia Prskawetz, 2002. "On the changing correlation between fertility and female employment over space and time," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2002-052, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  7. Catherine Hakim, 2003. "A New Approach to Explaining Fertility Patterns: Preference Theory," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 29(3), pages 349-374.
  8. Laura Bernardi & Inge Hutter, 2007. "The anthropological demography of Europe," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 17(18), pages 541-566, December.
  9. Michaela Kreyenfeld, 2004. "Fertility decisions in the FRG and GDR," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2004-008, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  10. Macunovich, D.J., 1996. "Relative Income and Price of Time: Exploring their effcts on U.S. Fertility and Female Labor Force Participation, 1963-1993," Department of Economics Working Papers 174, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  11. Anna Matysiak & Daniele Vignoli, 2006. "Fertility and women’s employment: a meta-analysis," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2006-048, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
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Cited by:
  1. Anna Rybiñska, 2014. "Motherhood after the age of 35 in Poland," Working Papers 65, Institute of Statistics and Demography, Warsaw School of Economics.
  2. Marta Styrc & Anna Matysiak, 2012. "Women’s employment and marital stability: the role of the context," Working Papers 52, Institute of Statistics and Demography, Warsaw School of Economics.

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