Women's Work Trajectories across the Life Course: Early Life Influences

Federica Querin, Princeton University

Despite their massive entrance in the labor force in the last decades, women still experience an uneven attachment to the labor market over their life course. Previous research has shown how this is linked to demographic factors and family formation as well as early life socio economic status that can shape access to paid work. This study’s aim is to study how (1) fixed contextual characteristics, including country and birth cohort and (2) parental characteristics, including education and occupation, predict women’s long-term trajectories of workforce participation. The analytical sample from the Gender and Generation Survey (GGS) includes women from seven European countries who were at least 45 years old at time of survey, and for whom activity status is reported from age 16. It is therefore possible to construct individual employment trajectories over the entire span of their reproductive lives. Such life-lines are analyzed through sequence analysis to obtain four different clusters based on the women’s attachment to the labor market over the entire period. Results show that country of residence predicts labor market attachment more than birth cohort does. There is some suggestive evidence that having had a working mother has no significant effect on the respondent’s labor market attachment.

Presented in Session 49: Work and Family Trajectories over the Lifecourse