The pace of change towards gender egalitarian beliefs and practices have varied across domains in modern post-industrial societies, which has been conceptualised as an incomplete gender revolution. Possible explanations relate to persistent gender essentialist beliefs and increasing self-expressive values or norms of choices on the one hand and to neuro-scientific research on biological sex differences on the other. This project seeks to illuminate the process of intergenerational change in gender relations by investigating how children form their gender beliefs, interests and occupational aspirations. It combines theories of gender socialisation and biological sex differences with a life course perspective. First, the project explores how the influence of parental socialization varies by children’s exposure to prenatal sex hormones. Second, the study sheds new light on contextual variations, especially how the influence of parental socialization differs across family structures, peer networks, and gender cultures. Studying aspirations of children in structurally and ethnically diverse families will provide new insights, as some of these families face greater economic constraints and work-care conflict, which may reduce the influence of gender essentialism and self-expressive values.
To investigate the interplay of sex hormones with parental gender socialisation across childhood, the first part of the project draws on the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. This study collected hormonal measures from blood samples alongside longitudinal survey measures of children and their parents in Bristol from before birth until young adulthood. To explore how the influence of gender socialisation by parents varies between two-parent, single-parent and stepparent families with varying contact arrangement and parent-child-relationships, the second part of the project draws on data from the UK Millennium Cohort Study following a large representative sample of children from birth to age 17. The third part of the project investigates how parents and peers shape gender ideologies, practices and occupational aspirations among immigrant and native youth in Germany, England, the Netherlands, and Sweden. Based on the Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Study in Four European Countries, it analyses how parental influences vary depending on gender beliefs and aspirations of classmates and social networks across gender cultures. All three individual-level panel data sets are enriched by country-level information on occupational segregation and gender cultures. In combination, the three parts of the project will provide novel evidence of the interdependence of parental gender socialisation with biological predispositions and with the social environment.
Keywords: gender; socialization; intergenerational transmission; gender ideologies; occupational aspirations; sex hormones; family structure; migration; ethnic inequalities