Gender roles within partnerships facing their first parenthood

Pau Miret-Gamundi, Centre d’Estudis Demogràfics (CED), UAB
Elena Vidal-Coso, Université de Genève

Focusing on young childless different-sex partnerships, we wonder why so few are currently having a baby in contemporary Spain. We observe those couples up to the moment than either have a new baby born or leave the observational window, within a period of fifteen years framed on the 21st century, flowing half of it in a pleasant economic expansion and the other half in a disagreeable crisis. The source of data is quarterly panel household Spanish labour force, from the first quarter of 1999 to the second of 2015, gathering 48,025 partnerships observed in 154,213 occasions between one quarter and the following one, registering an event for a 13.6% of them and treating the rest as truncated information. We are using discrete-time event-history techniques on the transition to first parenthood. We are analysing heterosexual couples, so inter-quarterly period are nested in partnerships, focusing on the characteristics of those who are having a baby in comparison with those who remain childless. We are modelling these odds according to observational period, women’s age and age difference between partners, and both members of the partnership’ labour force participation, educational attainment and place of birth. Once age is controlled, the main explanatory factor in the transition to first parenthood is female labour participation, being female unemployment the fundamental explanation in the low first-fertility rates. On the contrary, male labour participation is not a significant issue in explaining the phenomena. On conclusion, the main reason emerging in the analysis for registering this extremely low first-fertility level is gender discrimination in the labour market, indicated by huge unemployment rates among young women in comparison with men. On contrast, there is no significant difference in first-fertility of native and immigrant partnerships. Moreover, educational attainment has no significance once labour participation is included in the explanatory model.

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 Presented in Session 43. Gender and fertility