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Mom works less ­- Dad works more

In connection with the birth of the first child, the working life of women is affected considerably more than that of men. Women stop doing long commutes, work shorter hours, and change jobs more seldom than comparable women without children.

Men, on the other hand, are not affected to any great extent by parenthood. This is shown in a new study from IFAU, the Institute for Labor Market Policy Evaluation in Sweden.

Major change for women, minor for men

The report shows that parenthood entails greater changes for women than men. Women who had their first child in 1999 were gainfully employed two years afterward to a lesser extent than otherwise equivalent women without children. They also worked shorter hours, changed jobs and advanced to more highly qualified tasks to a lesser extent, and their pay grew more slowly. Moms decreased their long commuting (>50 km), choosing relatively short commute (5-20 km) when they had children.

Parenthood did not entail nearly as great a change for men. Adjustment seems largely to be a matter of unemployed men finding employment when they had children. Dads decreased their short commuting, but to some extent their long commutes as well.

Method and data material

The report studies how the situation of parents changes in the labor market in connection with having their first child. In an initial phase, the focus is on whether the parents in the study were gainfully employed two years after the birth of the child. Then the focus shifts to the work hours, commuting distance, and career and wage development of working parents. These parents are compared with a group of men and women with exactly the same background and wage development who did not become parents during the same period. Information about the individuals was taken from Statistics Sweden registers covering the entire Swedish population between the ages of 20 and 40 during the years 1997-2001.

Contact information Report 2007:9 'How do the work situations of women and men change when they become parents?' was written by Louise Kennerberg. If you want to know more, please contact the author at (mobilnr är struket) phone: +46 (0)18-471 70 90; or e-mail:

Margareta Wicklander | idw
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