We examine double standards in norms on voluntary childlessness. Whether choosing childlessness is more accepted for men or for women is not a priori clear; we formulate arguments in both directions. Multilevel analyses are conducted, including individual and societal-level variables. Our sample consists of 44,055 individuals nested in 25 European countries, obtained from Wave 3 of the European Social Survey (2006). Subjective norms were measured with a split ballot design, with half of the respondents randomly assigned questions regarding women choosing not to have children, and half assigned items regarding men. Findings indicate that men are more disapproved of when choosing not to have children than are women. Overall, this double standard is endorsed by women, not by men. Clear cross-national variation in the double standard exists, which is partly explained by the level of gender equality (GEM). Surprisingly, the higher the gender equality, the stronger the double standard.
Original languageUndefined
Title of book/report/proceedings2011 Annual Meeting of the Population Association of America (PAA), Washington, March 31-April 2, 2011
Publication date2011

ID: 96907