Table of Contents

Couples' Transitions to Parenthood

Couples' Transitions to Parenthood

Analysing Gender and Work in Europe

Edited by Daniela Grunow and Marie Evertsson

It is common for European couples living fairly egalitarian lives to adopt a traditional division of labour at the transition to parenthood. Based on in-depth interviews with 334 parents-to-be in eight European countries, this book explores the implications of family policies and gender culture from the perspective of couples who are expecting their first child. Couples’ Transitions to Parenthood: Analysing Gender and Work in Europe is the first comparative, qualitative study that explicitly locates couples’ parenting ideals and plans in the wider context of national institutions.

Chapter 11: Constructions of parenthood in the Czech Republic: maternal care and paternal help

Olga Nešporová and Růžena Horňáková Stuchlá

Subjects: social policy and sociology, family and gender policy


This chapter is based on the analysis of 32 interviews with Czech parents-to-be, with the sample being formed by 16 dual-earner couples. Compared to the population, they had higher average education and income than their peers in their age group. In this chapter, we attempt to illustrate the ways in which the interviewed parents-to-be interpreted and enacted motherhood and fatherhood. We focus on their plans for reconciling parenthood with their lives and especially their paid work. First, the couples’ plans for utilizing maternity and parental leave are discussed. Second, we describe how the interviewed mothers and fathers-to-be planned to reconcile family and work life. As a related topic, norms regarding the age at which children are considered to benefit (or at least not suffer) from non-parental care or public childcare are discussed. Finally, we present a general conceptualization of mothers’ and fathers’ main parental roles as planned by the interviewed parents-to-be. In the Czech interviews, and in comparison to the other country studies presented in this edited volume, motherhood and fatherhood were constructed in a particularly traditional and essentialist way.

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