Does paternal involvement in childcare influence mothers’ employment trajectories during the early stages of parenthood in the UK?

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Understanding the conditions that facilitate mothers’ employment and fathers’ involvement in childcare and housework is important for achieving gender equity in paid and unpaid work. Using Sen’s (1992) capabilities framework, the paper explores the effect of paternal involvement in childcare on mothers’ employment resumption nine months and three years’ post-childbirth. Logistic regression is used on the UK’s Millennium Cohort Study. Results show that the probability of mothers resuming employment increase at both time points if the father is more involved in childcare nine months post-birth – and in some cases, this is more important for her employment resumption than her occupational class and the number of hours the father spends in paid work. However, attitudes have an even stronger effect, and appear to drive behaviour, as the probability of mothers resuming employment increase significantly three years post-birth if either parent endorses more gender egalitarian roles in the first year of parenthood.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Early online date15 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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