Population Research and Policy Review 16: 457–474, 1997.
1997 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.
Combining employment and parenthood:
A longitudinal study of intentions of Dutch young adults
GIJS C. N. BEETS
, AART C. LIEFBROER
JENNY DE JONG GIERVELD
Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute, The Hague;
Department of Social Research Methodology, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam,
Abstract. This paper examines the intentions of Dutch males and females with regard to
combining paid employment and parenthood. Four models of how couples combine these
roles are distinguished. Panel data from a representative survey among Dutch young adults
show that the traditional model (the female takes care of the children and the male works
full-time) is becoming less popular, whereas the supplementary model (the female takes care
of the children and supplements the labor force participation of the male), and the egalitarian
model (both partners share paid labor more or less equally) are becoming more popular. The
no-child model is preferred by about 10% of the respondents. A multivariate analysis shows
that both job characteristics, like the ﬂexibility of working hours, and gender role attitudes are
important predictors of intentions with regard to combining family and work roles.
Key words: Childcarefacilities, Gender roles, Laborforceparticipation,Policies, Young adults
The issue of how females combine paid employment and motherhood is
central to demography. A recent review (Bernhardt 1993) argues that the
incompatibility between motherhood and employment has weakened in most
industrial societies. The same conclusion can be drawn from a recent compar-
ison of family formation in a number of European countries (Blossfeld 1995).
Females are increasingly likely to combine motherhood and employment.
Despite this general trend, the extent to which females combine these
activities differs across countries. In a comparison of female labor force
participationratesin 14 WestEuropean countries,Bernhardt(1993: 26) shows
that the percentage of females aged 25–44 in the labor force varied from 47%
in Ireland to 89% in Denmark, and that the proportion of part-time females in
the labor force varied from 8% in Greece to 60% in the Netherlands. These
ﬁgures also suggest that in many countries a large proportion of females in
childbearing ages are not in the labor force.