WeEqualize – Social Inequalities in Work-Family Strategies Within and Across 24 Industrialized Countries

The gender revolution framework predicts a seemingly linear progression leading to a dramatic convergence in men’s and women’s roles in paid work and at home. Yet gender convergence appears stalled by conflicting structural and cultural factors across industrialized countries. Existing theoretical perspectives fail to simultaneously predict how the gender revolution shapes couple-level work-family patterns across countries and time for those with lower, middle, and higher socio-economic resources.

WeEqualize will address the intertwined implications of the gender revolution – including changing gender beliefs, rising labor market insecurity, and the increasing retreat from partnerships – in shaping social inequalities in work-family strategies among different-sex couples across 24 countries from the 1960s to nowadays.

WeEqualize will provide the first comprehensive characterization and quantification of social inequalities in work-family strategies across industrialized countries and over the long run. It aims to: identify a couple-level typology of work-family strategies; examine the prevalence of these strategies by education and across countries; evaluate the role of contextual factors in shaping work-family strategies; assess how historical and contemporary estimates of work-family strategies are shaped by changing demographic trends, and project future trends in work-family strategies for the coming decades; as well as collect and leverage new survey-based experimental data across different contexts to disentangle the role of gender beliefs from labor market constraints in shaping what type of work-family strategies couples choose and why.

By combining innovative computational methods with nationally representative studies, as well as collecting new survey-experimental data, WeEqualize will challenge and reframe our theoretical understanding of how gender equality progresses within and across families now and in the future.



Léa Pessin – Principal investigator

I am an assistant professor of Sociology and Demography at The Center for Research in Economics and Statistics (CREST) in ENSAE Paris. I am also an external research affiliate at the Population Research Institute at the Pennsylvania State University. Formerly, I was a faculty in the Department of Sociology and Criminology at the Pennsylvania State University

My research agenda focuses on the unequal consequences of the gender revolution on women’s work and family outcomes across class, race, and contexts. I apply quantitative methods to cross-national and longitudinal data to explore variation across countries and time. My work has been published in Demography, Social Forces, The Journal of Marriage and Family, Demographic Research, The European Sociological Review, and The Journal of Personal and Social Relationships.

I received a Ph.D. in Sociology and Demography from Pompeu Fabra University in 2016. I completed an NICHD postdoctoral fellowship at the Population Research Institute. I also spent the last year of my Ph.D. as a visiting pre-doctoral scholar at the Maryland Population Research Center. I was a 2018 Work and Family Researchers Network Early Career Fellow.

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