Late 20th century persistence and decline of the female homemaker in Germany and the United States
The article compares changes in West German and American women’s mid-career job exits and re-entries and introduces an innovative event-history model to compare mobility across three decades using 1940s and 1950s birth cohorts from the German Life History Study and the US National Longitudinal Survey of Young Women. Processes by which transitions through parenthood and marriage impact women’s labour market participation vary by country and cohort, evidence that changing gender relations, norms and institutions provide unique options and restrictions for women’s family and career trajectories. Homemaking is in decline in both countries, but event-history models show that this decline is due to different life course dynamics in each country: women’s job attachment has increased throughout the family cycle in the US, while German women still exit the labour market, but at motherhood rather than marriage, and for shorter durations. Employment interruptions have become more penalizing for women in both countries.
Grunow, D., Hofmeister, H. und Buchholz, S. (2006). Late 20th century persistence and decline of the female homemaker in Germany and the United States. International Sociology 21(1): 101–132.