Gender Gap in Parental Leave Intentions: Evidence from 37 Countries
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Olsson, M.I.T... [et al.] (2023), Gender Gap in Parental Leave Intentions: Evidence from 37 Countries. Political Psychology. [https://doi.org/10.1111/pops.12880]
SponsorshipSSHRC Insight Development Grant 430-2018-00361 SSHRC Insight Grant 435-2014-1247 SSHRC doctoral fellowship; Basic Research Program at HSE University, RF; UK Research & Innovation (UKRI); Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) ES/S00274X/1; State Research Agency PID2019--111549GB-I00/10.13039/501100011033; Guangdong 13th-five Philosophy and Social Science Planning Project GD20CXL06; National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) 31600912 research infrastructure HUME Lab Experimental Humanities Laboratory, Faculty of Arts, Masaryk University; Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) P1ZHP1_184553 P500PS_206546 P2LAP1_194987; Center for Social Conflict and Cohesion Studies (ANID/FONDAP) 15130009 Center for Intercultural and Indigenous Research (ANID/FONDAP) 15110006; SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship 756-2017-0249; Slovak Research and Development Agency project APVV 20--0319; Canada Research Chairs CGIAR CRC 152583; Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) 140649; Ministry of Research and Innovation, Ontario 152655
Despite global commitments and efforts, a gender-based division of paid and unpaid work persists. To identify how psychological factors, national policies, and the broader sociocultural context contribute to this inequality, we assessed parental-leave intentions in young adults (18–30 years old) planning to have children (N = 13,942; 8,880 identified as women; 5,062 identified as men) across 37 countries that varied in parental-leave policies and societal gender equality. In all countries, women intended to take longer leave than men. National parental-leave policies and women’s political representation partially explained cross-national variations in the gender gap. Gender gaps in leave intentions were paradoxically larger in countries with more gender-egalitarian parental-leave policies (i.e., longer leave available to both fathers and mothers). Interestingly, this cross-national variation in the gender gap was driven by cross-national variations in women’s (rather than men’s) leave intentions. Financially generous leave and gender-egalitarian policies (linked to men’s higher uptake in prior research) were not associated with leave intentions in men. Rather, men’s leave intentions were related to their individual gender attitudes. Leave intentions were inversely related to career ambitions. The potential for existing policies to foster gender equality in paid and unpaid work is discussed.