Planning seminar on women’s work-family trajectories in Germany

Women’s life courses underwent substantial changes in the family and work domains in the second half of the 20th century. The associated fundamental changes in opportunity structures and values challenged the importance of families of origin for individual life courses, but two separate research strands suggest enduring within-family reproduction of women’s family behavior and work outcomes. We revisit this issue by studying two complementary types of intergenerational associations in women’s combined work-family trajectories. On the one hand, we examine similarities across mothers’ and daughters’ work-family trajectories to address the direct within-family reproduction of female life courses (intergenerational persistence). On the other hand, we examine systematic associations between work-family trajectories that are typical in each generation to address intergenerational interdependencies beyond direct reproduction that account for individual and societal constrains and opportunities faced by each generation (intergenerational correspondence). We use a within-dyad approach to sequence analysis and examine combined work-family trajectories between the ages 18 to 35 of two generations of women, born in 1930–1949 and in 1958–1981, within the same family drawn from the German Socio-Economic Panel. Overall, we find evidence of small but non-trivial persistence in work-family trajectories across generations that is partly attributed to within-family mechanisms of reproduction. In addition, we find correspondence across typical trajectory patterns of each generation, without daughters necessarily resembling their mothers’ trajectories. The strength of the intergenerational associations varies by social background and socio-political context. Our research improves and broadens our understanding of the reproduction of female life courses across generations.

  • Title: Interdependencies in mothers’ and daughters’ work-family life course trajectories: Similar but different?
  • When: 06 February 2020 12:00pm–1:00pm
  • Where: Room 518/519, Chamberlain Building (#35)
  • Speaker: Dr Sergi Vidal is a social demographer, currently appointed at the Centre for Demographic Studies in the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona as a Ramón y Cajal research fellow, and at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona) as a lecturer. His main research interests include family dynamics, residential mobility and housing, gender inequality, precarious employment, and life course and longitudinal research methods. He is currently chief investigator of two research projects: Understanding the diversity of family life courses in contexts of increased union instability (2019-2021; funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities), and Understanding the willingness to move for jobs across regions in Spain (2019-2020; funded by La Caixa foundation).