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Soc. Sci. 2018, 7(12), 269; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci7120269

Both Parents Working: Challenges and Strains in Managing the Reconciliation of Career and Family Life in Dual-Career Families. Empirical Evidence from Austria

Institute of Sociology, University of Vienna, 1090 Vienna, Austria
Received: 15 September 2018 / Revised: 3 December 2018 / Accepted: 11 December 2018 / Published: 17 December 2018
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Abstract

The presented empirical data analysis aims to shed light on the persistence of gender inequalities in sharing parenting responsibilities and addresses possible improvements for realising gender equality. In recent decades, family policies in the European Union have targeted the increase of men’s shares in parental leave (=paternal leave) as well as women’s participation in the labour market. Following the results of the Lisbon Treaty in 2000, many EU member states including Austria introduced non-transferable fathers’ quotas in their regulations on parental leave. Subsequently, the share of men on parental leave increased. Nevertheless, both in number and duration, men’s childcare allowance claims have remained lower than women’s claims. This paper investigates shared parental leave practices based on 36 interviews with fathers on paternal leave, and 14 follow-up interviews with parents after paternal leave. The qualitative data reveal the challenges that arise when both parents are faced with reconciling work and family during and after parental leave. Although the data showed that progress has been made in reducing gender inequality, the interviews make clear that employers’ attitudes perpetuate traditional gendered expectations of parental leave claims and still focus on images of a male breadwinner. Also, the distribution of gainful and family work reveals gender inequalities. The paper therefore discusses challenges that arise in the realisation of current gender and family policies in order to provide a basis for making changes that further enhance the opportunities for dual-career couples within the organisation of parental leave laws. View Full-Text
Keywords: parental leave; empirical sociological research; family research; gender equality; work-life-balance; gender at work; gender care gap; gender pay gap; Austria parental leave; empirical sociological research; family research; gender equality; work-life-balance; gender at work; gender care gap; gender pay gap; Austria
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Mauerer, G. Both Parents Working: Challenges and Strains in Managing the Reconciliation of Career and Family Life in Dual-Career Families. Empirical Evidence from Austria. Soc. Sci. 2018, 7, 269.

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