Does gender equality matter for fertility? Demographic findings on this issue are rather inconclusive. We argue that one reason for this is that the complexity of the concept of gender equality has received insufficient attention. Gender equality needs to be conceptualized in a manner that goes beyond perceiving it as mere ‘‘sameness of distribution’’. It needs to include notions of gender equity and thus to allow for distinguishing between gender difference and gender inequality. We sketch three dimensions of gender equality related to employment, financial resources, and family work, which incorporate this understanding: (1) the ability to maintain a household; (2) agency and the capability to choose; and (3) gender equity in household and care work. We explore their impact on childbearing intentions of women and men using the European Generations and Gender Surveys. Our results confirm the need for a more nuanced notion of gender equality in studies on the relationship between gender equality on fertility. They show that there is no uniform effect of gender equality on childbearing intentions, but that the impact varies by gender and by parity.
A growing body of research documents the persistent relevance of religiosity for partnership and reproductive behaviour in Europe. This study expands the current knowledge by analysing whole union and fertility trajectories – i.e. entering cohabitation versus direct marriage, non-marital childbearing, number of children, divorce – instead of focusing on single events as previous research did. It is based on data from the first wave of the Austrian Generations and Gender Survey (2008/09) and includes 1,249 women and men aged 40-45. Using sequence analysis, respondents are first clustered around several template family life paths. Afterwards, the role of religiosity in following one rather than another path is ascertained with the help of multinomial logit regression. Four aspects – affiliation, mass attendance, self-assessed religiosity and religious socialisation – are considered. Compared to their less religious peers, religious people are more likely to choose direct marriage rather than prior cohabitation. Yet they prefer the latter option over more ‘adverse’ life paths involving non-marital childbearing, sequential cohabitation and divorce. Permanent singlehood without children is equally widespread among both groups. Differences in religiosity play a minor role in explaining why people have two or three children, once they have decided to enter premarital cohabitation or to marry directly.