Gender Differences in Europeans’ Attitudes About Women’s Childlessness: Individual and Contextual Factors

Tanya Koropeckyj-Cox , University of Florida
Alin M. Ceobanu, University of Florida

Persistent, below-replacement fertility in Europe has raised concerns about population aging and effects on economies and labor markets. Scholars have attributed the low fertility to cultural change, economic constraints, or their combination (see Adsera, 2013). Gender ideologies and societal gender inequalities vary widely across Europe and play a role in shaping attitudes and decisions about childbearing and childlessness, particularly for women. We use cross-national data from the European Values Study (2008) to address the following aims: 1) to examine attitudes about women’s childlessness and gender differences in Europe; 2) to assess how these attitudes are related to individual-level differences in gender ideology, religiosity, and political preferences; and 3) to identify macro-level variations in gender inequality, as well as economic and demographic factors, that explain attitudes about childlessness and moderate gender differences in attitudes. The results show the significance of gendered social and policy environments in shaping attitudes about childlessness.

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 Presented in Session 1. Fertility, Family Planning, Sexual Behavior, & Reproductive Health 1