ESRA 2019 Programme at a Glance

Innovations in the Measurement of Gender Role Attitudes 1

Session Organisers Professor Corinna Kleinert (Leibniz Institute for Educational Trajectories (LIfBi) and University of Bamberg)
Dr Gundula Zoch (Leibniz Institute for Educational Trajectories (LIfBi))
Dr Stefanie Heyne (LMU Munich, Department of Sociology)
TimeWednesday 17th July, 09:00 - 10:30
Room D24

In large-scale surveys, gender ideologies are commonly measured by item sets which cover attitudes towards different gender roles in various spheres of life. They aim at measuring individual support for various separate spheres such as women’s labour market participation or the division of housework (Davis & Greenstein 2009). Beliefs in gendered spheres are referred to as traditional ideologies, while egalitarian gender ideologies describe beliefs that value an equal division of paid and domestic work among men and women as well as equal participation in different occupational fields and roles.

The gender role attitude items used in survey research so far differ with regard to the extent of gender traditionalism expressed as well as with regard to the spheres of life covered. Comparative research has found gender role attitude items slanted towards traditionalism to produce clearer differences between countries than more egalitarian items. However, these items seem less suitable to capture ideology change over time in groups with relatively egalitarian views. Conversely, items which capture more egalitarian beliefs might lead to insufficient discrimination between traditional and non-traditional respondents (e.g. Braun 2008). Moreover, previous research has argued that due to the overall decline in more traditional ideologies in society, gender ideologies do not comfortably fall onto a continuum of traditional and egalitarian gender role attitudes anymore, but are increasingly multidimensional in nature. Thus, commonly used item sets might not be sufficient anymore to capture traditional and egalitarian ideologies as well as different types of egalitarianism.

For this session, we welcome contributions that
- investigate problems of measuring gender role attitudes, either as determinants or outcomes, for example of life-course events or policy changes, by focusing on single-country or comparative studies,
- introduce new and innovative conceptual frameworks which are measurable in survey research,
- provide evidence from new measurement approaches based on a broad range of data types and instruments, i.e., small- or large-scale, qualitative and quantitative studies, longitudinal studies, experiments, vignette studies or mixed method studies.

The stream particularly welcomes contributions that aim at developing a more valid measurement of gender role attitudes which is suitable for investigating ideology changes over time as well as intergenerational ideology transmission in large-scale surveys with limited time and heterogeneous respondents.

Keywords: gender role attitudes, measurement, measurement error, item development

Gender Role Attitudes and Career Choices: Evidence from Germany

Dr Irina Gewinner (Leibniz Universität Hannover) - Presenting Author

Large-scale surveys often include general questions designed to measure individual gender role attitudes towards work and female employment. Scales requiring to agree or disagree with statements like “Children suffer when mother works” or “Housework is as fulfillig as paid work” capture only one dimension, namely women’s intention to engage with paid employment or, on the contrary, not to work. By doing so, they do often juxtapose traditional and egalitarian gender ideologies and ladle binary item categories that run the risk of providing very generalised, biased results. This is all the more critical, since past research identified that gender ideologies are multidimensional and diverse (Halpern & Perry-Jenkins 2016, Chatillon et al. 2018, Grunow et al. 2018).
Particularly, large-scaled surveys do not take into consideration deeper processes that are secondary to a sole desire to work or not and give a more nuanced glance and explanation to different life course events. Currently existing survey gender related items can hardly explain the association between culturally rooted beliefs and multifaceted gender role attitudes and individual decisions pertaining to career choices of people, work-life balance or cultural explanations of female employment.
This paper aims at demonstrating how human agency is tied to culturally anchored beliefs, values and gender role attitudes in individuals by exemplifying career choices of tertiary education students at one big research university in Germany (N=1516). I suggest that the horizontal sex segregation is closely linked with gender ideologies in any society, since its persistence is cultural. Drawing upon an integrative theoretical model for studying career choices (Gewinner, 2017), which has the potential to explain gender segregation through individual gender values and ideals and socialization-related factors, this paper not only introduces a conceptual framework for analysing gender ideologies as determinants of career choices, but also provides empirical evidence from this quantitative measurement approach.

Mapping Fatherhood Beyond the Egalitarian-Traditional Continuum: Capturing Fathers’ Gender Beliefs and Fathering Perceptions

Mrs Luisa Streckenbach (German Youth Institute Munich) - Presenting Author
Dr Laura Castiglioni (German Youth Institute Munich)
Professor Pia Schober (Eberhard Karls University Tübingen)

In 2007, Germany introduced a new income-related parental leave legislation inter alia to encourage fathers’ greater involvement in early childcare. Ever since parental leave has received a lot of research attention as a predictor of father involvement. Several studies indicate that fathers’ leave-taking is positively associated with greater involvement in childcare. However, most studies were unable to take into account gender ideologies, and in particular, fathering attitudes, and their interplay with parental leave and father involvement in childcare usually due to a lack of data.
Our study examines the link between father involvement and parental leave in light of gender beliefs and fathering perceptions of fathers. We draw on newly collected cross-sectional survey data from a large German state (2017/2018). The richness of our data provides a detailed operationalization of paternal care practices. Additionally, we included three comprehensive scales about gender ideologies and fathering attitudes including self-evaluations about being a father (self-concept/-efficacy).
The differentiated measurement allowed us by means of a factor analysis to identify three dimensions of fatherhood (‘essentialist-traditional’, ‘caring’ and ‘competent’). Furthermore, we investigate with multiple linear regression models how these dimensions relate to a greater childcare involvement of fathers. Our findings support that a unidimensional continuum between traditional and egalitarian is insufficient to capture the variety of fatherhood conceptualisations in German society. Moreover, each of our dimensions of fatherhood shows a unique relation to greater father involvement. These findings suggest that future representative studies should study fathers’ gender beliefs and fathering perceptions more widely and inclusively.

Does Cultural Climate in the Region Matter? Utilizing German Micro-Level and Context-Level Data to Analyse Mothers’ Employment Re-Entry

Professor Christian Ebner (Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT))
Dr Katarina Weßling (Reseach Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA), Maastricht University) - Presenting Author

Over the last decades, women have increasingly joined the workforce. However, they are still substantially less often (full-time) employed than men. This is particularly true for mothers.

Our paper aims at understanding mothers’ decision to return to employment after childbirth by taking factors into account which have often been neglected. While the impact of individual-level determinants (education, earnings, marital status) on mothers’ employment have been well documented (Charles et al. 2001), a shift towards institutional and structural explanations (e.g. childcare provision) proved promising (Zoch/Hondralis 2017). As research on (individual) gender ideologies shows that “working mothers” represent a contested topic and that these ideologies are susceptible to specific contextual conditions (e.g. different welfare-state regimes or policies, Morgan 2006; Zoch/Schober 2018), we assume that cultural climate - particularly gender ideologies - at the local or regional level might additionally play a role here.

Therefore, we measure influences of local opportunities and of local cultural climate. Opportunity structures are captured by labour-market conditions and the provision with childcare. Cultural climate is depicted by female employment rates, share of church weddings, christenings, divorces, and the political climate. We extensively investigate these variables and their interrelations to conceptualise indicators representing gender-specific cultural climate in the region.

We match regional municipality- and district-level data from various sources (e.g. Statistical Office, German Episcopal Conference) to survey data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (GSOEP). Event-history models are applied to analyse the return to part-time and full-time employment after the birth of a first child between 1999-2016.

Preliminary findings indicate that the local cultural climate – especially female employment rates, share of church weddings and divorces in the region – significantly affects returning to full-time, however not to part-time work. Effects of local climate remain stable even when controlling for individual-level gender attitudes.

What Matters for the Intergenerational Transmission of Gender Ideology: Saying or Doing?

Ms Leonie Kleinschrot (German Youth Institute) - Presenting Author
Ms Janine Bernhardt (German Youth Institute)
Mrs Valerie Heintz-Martin (German Youth Institute)
Mrs Claudia Zerle-Elsäßer (German Youth Institute)

Despite the increasing labor force participation of European mothers, parents’ division of paid and unpaid work has remained persistently unequal. The literature offers two major streams of explanation: structural constraints and cultural transmission. While structural barriers, e.g. to balancing work and family roles, are well documented, only few studies have been able to look into transmission processes of gender roles.
In this paper, we study two potentially interdependent transmission processes from parents to their children using multi-actor panel data for Germany. First, parents are likely to communicate their values and educate their children about gender roles (saying gender). Second, children are likely to perceive their parents as behavioral role models and might develop different gender role attitudes depending on their parents’ actual labor division (doing gender).
The empirical analyses use two panel waves from AID:A, a national survey of children, adolescents and young adults conducted by the German Youth Institute. For the purpose of our study, we restrict the sample to two-parent families. We combine information from 2018 on adolescents’ gender role attitudes, measured via their attitudes towards mothers’ involvement in paid work, with information from 2014/15 on parents’ labor division and gender ideology as reported by mothers. The final analytic sample consists of 650 mother-child dyads.
The results show that adolescents prefer higher working hours for mothers, if their parents were equally involved in paid work during childhood. Parents’ division of paid work (doing) shows an even stronger impact than mothers’ gender role attitudes (saying). Separate analyses for female and male adolescents reveal that parents’ employment arrangement is relevant for both daughters and sons, whereas mothers’ gender role attitudes only matter for sons. We conclude with the potential benefits and drawbacks of integrating measures of gender ideology at a concrete level, such as in this study.