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The University of Southampton
Southampton Statistical Sciences Research Institute

Research project: Gender role attitudes and labour force participation

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In this ESRC-funded project we investigated the relationship between women’s gender role attitudes and their fertility and economic activity experiences, comparing various statistical modelling approaches.

While attitudes do not predict who becomes a mother among childless women, the majority of whom are working full-time, they do predict changes in labour force status. Women with more traditional views were slightly more likely to leave the labour force for family care upon becoming a parent. However, there is stronger evidence that gender role attitudes are shaped by individuals’ experiences. We found that becoming a mother and continuing with the same (or increased) hours is not associated with a change in gender role attitude, whereas those who become a mother and reduce their working hours typically become more traditional in their view.


Berrington, A., Hu, Y., Smith, P.W. and Sturgis, P. (2008). A Graphical Chain Model for Reciprocal Relationships Between Women’s Gender Role Attitudes and Labour Force Participation . Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series A, 171(1), 89-108.

Berrington, A. Smith, P.W.F. & Sturgis, P. (2006). An Overview of Methods for the Analysis of Panel Data. NCRM Briefing Paper no. 7. Southampton: University of Southampton.

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