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Younger women are working more but still take care of the kids

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Publication Date: 
6 Mar 2020


Modern women are more likely to be better educated, financially independent and in paid work than their mothers’ generation, according to research by the Dutch statistics office CBS. 

Sociologist Tanja Traag compared two cohorts of men and women when they were between the ages of 30 and 35: those born between 1955 and 1960, and those born from 1975 to 1980. 

She found that women in the younger group were more likely to be highly educated than men of the same age, and their participation in the jobs market has dramatically increased. 

‘Up until 1957, women were legally required to be fired from their jobs if they married, and if they then wanted to take up work, they needed the signature of their husband,’ Traag points out in her paper. 

‘[Now], women and especially mothers are not only more likely to have a job, but to be working at a higher level,’ she adds in a video presentation. ‘In the older generation, 40% of women were financially self-sufficient and this increased in the younger generation to 70%.’ 

Still, however, mothers are less likely to work than fathers, and only 12% of both the older and younger generational group had a full time job outside the home. 

There was some evidence that attitudes towards childcare were changing to some degree amongst men, said Traag: ‘In the older generation 60% of men thought women were better suited to caring for children, and in the younger generation this has dropped to 40%. Women are less likely to think this.’ 

However the men’s overall working levels had changed far less across the generations, with 93% of the older men in full time work at these ages, compared with 89% of younger men (and 60% of older and younger women).