78 Soc. F. 1409 (1999-2000)
Married Women's Employment over the Life Course: Attitudes in Cross-National Perspective

handle is hein.journals/josf78 and id is 1423 raw text is: Married Women's Employment
over the Life Course: Attitudes in
Cross-National Perspective*
JUDITH TEAms, University of California, Irvine
ERic D. WIDMER, University of Geneva
Abstract
We analyze survey data from 23, largely industrialized countries on attitudes toward
married women's employment at four stages of the family life course. Despite general
consensus between countries, cluster and correspondence analyses show that the nations
represent three distinct patterns of attitudes. There is only mixed support for the
hypothesis that public opinion conforms to state welfare regime type. Instead, normative
beliefs reflect both a general dimension of structural and cultural factors facilitating
female labor force participation and a life course dimension specific to maternal
employment. Men and women largely agree, but gender differences affect cluster
membership for a few countries. Systematic analysis of a large number of countries
helps to test the limits of comparative typologies and to identify anomalous cases for
closer study.
Women around the globe face similar problems reconciling paid work and
domestic responsibilities (Boh, Sgritta & Sussman 1989; Frankel 1996; Moen 1992;
Stockman, Bonney & Sheng 1995). Compared with other women, mothers of
children, particularly young children, are less likely to be employed. When they
do work for pay, they are less likely to work full-time. Ideologies assigning
primary child-care responsibility to women prevail in most cultures (Barry &
Paxson 1971). In advanced industrial societies, the organization of work (e.g., fixed
employment schedules) and its rewards (e.g., gender pay gaps) pose obstacles and
*This research was supported by a grant from the University of California Center for German
and European Studies. Direct correspondence to Judith Treas, Department of Sociology, Social
Science Plaza 3151A, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697-5100.

@ The University of North Carolina Press

Social Forces, June 2000, 78(4):1409-1436

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