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2005 | 2(148) | 74-85

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The article presents a concise discussion concerning gender attitudes and opinions about governmental policies from an international comparative perspective offered by the Population Policy Acceptance Survey. The central topic of interest is the work-family dilemma. It is widely known that in traditional societies the responsibilities of women were mostly limited to childrearing and other household duties, while men were wage earners. In modern societies these roles are mixed. This change has stimulated various problems related to gender roles and gender relations, and these are of primary interest in this study. A main focus was on respondents who were 20-40 years of age. The gender module was applied in 10 countries: Austria, Cyprus, Estonia, East and West Germany, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, and Romania. It consists of two questions with 14 items altogether. The answers are structured with a Likert scale.The populations of the countries studied were found to have different attitudes with regard to gender roles. The Western European respondents exhibited more modern attitudes with regard to gender than did the respondents from Southern Europe, and particularly those from ex-socialist Central European countries. Female respondents had more modern gender attitudes than their male counterparts in all the countries.The findings showed that: (1) married people were more likely to have traditional gender values than were people living in non-marital unions or not living with partners; (2) the better educated respondents were, the more likely they were to accept modern gender attitudes; (3) working respondents were more likely to have modern gender attitudes than those who did not work. Other observations support the ideational changes approach i.g. more religious respondents were more likely to have traditional gender attitudes. A large amount of diversity was found between the countries in which opinions towards governmental gender-related policies were studied. The lowest expectations that the state facilitate female labour force participation were observed among Dutch respondents, as well as among males in Finland. In all other countries, more than 30 percent of respondents were of the opinion that the state should be very responsible for that. In Germany, Hungary, and Romania, more than 60 percent of respondents expressed that view. In general, female respondents expected that the government should be active in facilitating female employment more often than male respondents did.





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  • D. Philipov, Vienna Institute of Demography, Vienna, Austria


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