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Becoming and Being a(n) (Unequal) Parent: Mothers and Fathers in Pregnancy and Early Parenthood

The Gendered Transition to Parenthood 

In the context of the European research project FamiliesAndSocieties we, a group of family sociologists at the Department of Sociology at the University of Vienna, study the gendered processes of transformation during the transition to parenthood. The focus is on the practices of parents during pregnancy and the first months of parenthood, and on the figuration of women and men as unequal and gendered mothers and fathers.

The processes of transitions are dynamic, complex and full of contradictory pulls. Legally, financially and in their private parents have to deal with custody laws, parental leave models and tensions or contradictions between work and family life. We aim at taking a closer look at how those contradicting requirements influence everyday practices of first-time parents.



We study the transition to parenthood by addressing the following topics:
• pregnancy
• preparations for the birth and the postnatal phase
• childcare benefits
• parental leave
• paternity leave
• care
• work-life-balance
• division of paid and unpaid work
• gender roles
• organisation of family life


The aims of this project are:
• to explain the practices women and men are part of during the transition to 
• to outline particular circumstances that support or prevent gender inequality
   during the transition to parenthood
• to examine changes occurring from before to after the birth of the first child

Research Team

Work Package leader:
Rudolf Richter

Qualitative study:
Irene Rieder
Eva-Maria Schmidt
Cornelia Schadler
Ulrike Zartler

Quantitative study:
Caroline Berghammer
Theresa Fibich




Institut für Soziologie
Universität Wien

Rooseveltplatz 2/3
1090 Wien

University of Vienna | Universitätsring 1 | 1010 Vienna | T +43-1-4277-0