Analysing Gender and Work in Europe
Edited by Daniela Grunow and Marie Evertsson
Chapter 11: Constructions of parenthood in the Czech Republic: maternal care and paternal help
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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