Does housework rule? Fertility intentions of women in Turkey from a gender equity perspective

Ezgi Berktas, Hacettepe University

Fertility levels worldwide have witnessed a dramatic decline, especially since the 1970s, and despite many diverse studies, the reasons behind this shift have remained elusive. Many researchers have attributed the low levels of fertility to the changing status of women, although they typically focus on women’s status in the public sphere, which represents only half of the picture. Gender equity theory can overcome this shortfall by focusing on the different social institutions that exist in both the public and private sectors. This study provides an empirical test of gender equity theory for fertility intentions of women in Turkey by focusing on three particular dimensions of gender equity; those being the allocation of housework, education level, and employment status. To this end, micro-level analyses are carried out for women of different age groups using nationally representative data from the Turkey Demographic and Health Survey, 2008. The results show that, after controlling for education level and current working status, the allocation of housework has a significant effect on the fertility intentions of women in the 25–34 age group. As the first study relating the status of women in not only the public realm but also the private realm, to their fertility intentions, this study provides some important contributions to the existing body of literature on the relationship between fertility and gender equity in Turkey.

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Presented in Session 1: Family and fertility