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How Do Traditional Gender Roles Relate to Social Cohesion? Focus on Differences Between Women and Men

Abstract

The aims of the present paper are to explore how traditional gender roles (focusing mainly on attitudes towards the division of labour between men and women) relate to social cohesion and to examine whether this relationship differs among men and women. The multi-dimensional concept of social cohesion is measured by two general components: a behavioural dimension (consisting of civic and political participation and the intensity of non-kin social relations) and an attitudinal dimension (institutional trust and solidarity). The analysis, based on the data of the European Values Study from Luxembourg, reveals that being more traditional is related to higher attitudinal cohesion: i.e. higher institutional trust and solidarity. Conversely, traditional attitudes are associated with less cohesive behaviour, namely with a lower intensity of non-kin social relations and political participation. Tradition-oriented women show significantly lower levels of political participation than their male counterparts, whereas traditional men tend to demonstrate less solidarity than women.

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Notes

  1. There is a wealth of literature available regarding the relationship between gender role attitudes and labour market position of women [for example, see Stam et al. (2013)].

  2. Einolf (2010) reports that despite the fact that women demonstrate stronger attitudes/motivation towards helping others than men, they do not translate these views fully in institutional-helping behaviour and charity-giving. Thus, on an active level, there are only small gender differences. This can be explained by the fact that men have more resources (income, higher education, trust) and secular social relations, which enable them to act.

  3. The domain of the labour market is widely covered by the literature (Braun et al. 1994; Crompton et al. 2005; Hakim 2002; Kangas and Rostgaard 2007; Alwin et al. 1992; Knudsen and Waerness 2001; Sjöberg 2004; Treas and Widmer 2000) but it is not of relevance for the present paper.

  4. See: http://www.europeanvaluesstudy.eu/.

  5. A pre-treatment of the used was done by replacing missing values by mode, mean or other plausible values, estimated by means of Multiple Correspondence Analysis. Where necessary, the coding scheme of the variables was reversed.

  6. Due to the limited scope of this paper, the results of Factor Analysis are provided upon request.

  7. Missing values were replaced by the value of the closest category as indicated in the three-dimensional optimal scaling plots: in the case of variables V2 and V3, the missing values = 2 and, in the case of variable V4, the missing values = 3.

  8. A cross validation test was conducted. The outcomes of models including the gender attitude variable with replaced missing values were compared to those of models containing the gender attitude variable without replacement of missing values. No notable differences were found between the obtained outcomes.

  9. A household income variable used in the EVS does not account for household size and household composition. Moreover, there is a high level of missing cases (18 %). Therefore, the variable was not included in the analysis.

  10. Wording of the question: “When you think about your parents when you were about 14 years old, could you say whether these statements correctly describe your parents? I discussed politics at home with my mother. I discussed politics at home with my father.” Response categories: scale from 1 to 4. Value 1 represents “yes” and value 4 represents “No”. The total score was calculated from the two scales that were highly correlated. The lower the total score, the higher the intensity of discussions.

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Acknowledgments

This research is part of the VALCOS project supported by the Luxembourg ‘Fonds National de la Recherche’ (Contract FNR/VIVRE/06/01/09) and by core funding for CEPS/INSTEAD (now LISER) from the Ministry of Higher Education and Research of Luxembourg.

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Correspondence to Marie Valentova.

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Valentova, M. How Do Traditional Gender Roles Relate to Social Cohesion? Focus on Differences Between Women and Men. Soc Indic Res 127, 153–178 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11205-015-0961-2

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Keywords

  • Division of labour between men and women
  • Gender role attitudes
  • Social cohesion
  • Multidimensional measurement