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Graphik: Bulletpoint Abstracts issue 1/2017 (English)

Eva-Maria Schmidt/ Irene Rieder: All About the Money? Parents’ Justification Patterns Behind their Parental Leave Arrangements

Research considers the transition to parenthood as one of the key transitions in reinforcement of unequal and gendered divisions of labour between women and men. In Austria, parents are provided with an optional and flexible system of parental leave and childcare benefits during this time of income loss. The article at hand thus analyses how mothers and fathers before and after the birth of their first baby justify and rationalize their arrangement of parental leave, no matter if they share parental leave and childcare benefits or not. The analysis is rooted in a qualitative longitudinal study, where 66 interviews with mothers and fathers at three time points were conducted. As a result, four central rationales and aspects of justification were identified: economic, employment-centered, child-centered and parental role-specific. In combination with each other, justifications of couples can be characterized by specific patterns that are strongly underpinned by powerful social ascriptions of gendered differences between mothers and fathers.

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