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The University of Southampton
Economic, Social and Political Sciences

Senior Research Fellow at the European Consortium for Sociological Research Conference

Published: 5 November 2010 Origin:  Social Statistics and Demography

Serena Pattaro, who is also a member of CPC, was selected from a highly talented group of researchers to present her research at this year's ECSR Conference in Bamberg.

The conference, that took place in October 2010, brought together 96 researchers for a three day event on 'Analysing Education, Family, Work and Welfare in Modern Societies: Methodological Approaches and Empirical Evidence' .

Serena's topical work on the impact of women's career interruptions on the transitions to second child birth decisions in Italy and Sweden was well received. The work investigates two countries with very different patterns of fertility and public policy, which affects the reconciliation between work and family.

Using data for women born between 1945 and 1975 from the Fertility and Family Survey, the research finds that for Swedish women there is a positive impact of part-time employment on the transition to decisions leading to second childbirths. This is particularly true for younger cohorts of Swedish women in comparison with older birth cohorts. Conversely, the reverse is found for Italian women. The findings are in line with the reconciling role that part-time employment plays in Sweden in easing the tensions that women face in coping with childrearing and occupational commitments.

When looking at the number of career interruptions experienced by women in both countries, intermittent work histories have a negative impact on entry into second childbirths. This effect is prevalent for younger birth cohorts both in Italy and Sweden.

When looking at the cumulative time spent by women in a career break, the picture becomes more complex. On one hand, the research finds that women who are inactive, unemployed or in part-time employment (as opposed to full time), for a short period they are less likely to proceed to a second childbirth decision. On the other hand, women who are long-term inactive, unemployed or in part-time employment are more likely to withdraw from the labour market in favour of a childbearing career. The findings show that younger cohorts of women in Italy and Sweden are becoming more alike in this behaviour.

For more information about the European Consortium for Sociological Research please follow the link here .

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