To investigate the association between country-level differences in childcare enrollment, the presence of affirmative action policy, and female parliamentary representation and individual-level conflict between work and family.
This study applies data from the 2002 International Social Survey Program (n = 14,000 + ) for respondents in 29 countries and pairs them with macro-level measures of childcare enrollment, the presence of affirmative action policy, and female parliamentary representation. I estimate the model using hierarchical linear modeling (HLM 7) and also assess cross-level interactions by gender and parental status.
The models show that female parliamentary representation has a robust negative association with individual-level reports of work–family and family–work conflict. These associations do not vary by gender or parental status. Also, mothers report less family–work conflict in countries with more expansive childcare enrollment, indicating that this welfare policy benefits the intended group.
This research implies that greater female parliamentary representation has widespread benefits to all citizens’, rather than just women’s or mothers’, work–family and family–work conflict. Additional longitudinal research would benefit this area of study.
This research suggests that increasing female parliamentary representation at the country-level may promote work–life balance at the individual-level. It also indicates that public childcare enrollment benefits women through lower family–work conflict which may encourage continuous maternal labor force participation and reduce economic gender inequality.
This chapter builds on an emerging area of work–family research applying multilevel modeling to draw empirical links between individual work–family experiences and macro-level structural variation.
Ruppanner, L. (2015), "Policy or Empowerment? Policy Environments, Political Empowerment, and Work–Family Conflict", Work and Family in the New Economy (Research in the Sociology of Work, Vol. 26), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 277-300. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0277-283320150000026017
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