Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-7f7b94f6bd-dwjtz Total loading time: 0.446 Render date: 2022-07-01T05:36:01.601Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true } hasContentIssue true

Women's Perceptions of Consequences of Career Interruptions due to Childcare in Central and Eastern Europe

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 July 2010

CEPS/INSTEAD, Luxembourg email:
Maastricht Graduate School of Governance, The Netherlands


The present paper aims to examine the effect of the transition from a state socialist regime to democracy and a liberal economy on women's perceptions of the consequences of employment breaks due to childcare on their further careers in seven post-socialist Eastern and Central European countries. The paper uses data from the 2004 European Social Survey to explore whether women who interrupted their careers to look after young children were more likely to suffer negative consequences for their careers after the transition from socialism to a market-based economy than before the lifting of the Iron Curtain. The paper does this by comparing the consequences perceived by women whose children were born before 1987 with those of women with at least one child born later. It begins by grouping together women from across the region, and then looks at the differences by country of the consequences as perceived by these women. It concludes that women across the region were more likely to experience negative consequences after the transition than before. However, the effect of transition is not found to differ across countries using the ESS data.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2010

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Adler, M. (2002), ‘German unification as a turning point in East German women's life course: biographical changes in work and family roles’, Sex Roles: A Journal of Research, 47: 2, 8398.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Brainerd, E. (1997), ‘Women in transition: changes in gender wage differentials in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union’, The Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 54: 1, 138–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cerami, A. (2006), Social Policy in Central and Eastern Europe: The Emergence of a New European Welfare Regime, Berlin-Hamburg-Münster: LIT Verlag.Google Scholar
Čermáková, M. (1997), ‘Postavení žen na trhu práce’, Sociologický časopis, 33: 3, 389404.Google Scholar
Chiplin, B. and Sloane, P. J. (1976), ‘Personal characteristics and sex differentials in professional employment’, Economic Journal, 86: 344, 729–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Crompton, R. and Lyonette, C. (2005), ‘The new gender essentialism – domestic and family “choices” and their relation to attitudes’, British Journal of Sociology, 56: 4, 601–20.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Desai, S. and Waite, L. (1991), ‘Women's employment during pregnancy and after the first birth: occupational characteristics and work commitment’, Rund Research Document, N-33–53-NICHD.Google Scholar
Drew, E. (2004), Parental Leave in Council of Europe Member States, Council of Europe publication, Strasbourg, Scholar
European Commission (2008), ‘Report on Equality between Women and Men – 2008’, EC, DG for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, Unite G1, Luxembourg: EC Publication Office.Google Scholar
Esping-Andersen, G. (2002), ‘A new gender contract’, in Esping-Andersen, G., Gallie, D., Hemerijck, A. and Myles, J. (eds.), Why We Need a New Welfare State, Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
ESS n.d., ‘Weighting European social survey data’, Scholar
Fenger, H. J. M. (2005), ‘Welfare regimes in Central and Eastern Europe: incorporating post-communist countries in a welfare regime typology’, Paper presented at the NIG Conference, Nijmegen.Google Scholar
Gal, S. and Kilgman, G. (2000), The Politics of Gender after Socialism: A Comparative-Historical Essay, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hakim, C. (1992), ‘Explaining trends in occupational segregation: the measurement, causes, and consequences of the sexual division of labour’, European Sociological Review, 8: 2, 127–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hakim, C. (2003), ‘A new approach to explaining fertility patterns: preference theory’, Population and Development Review, 29: 3, 349–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hamplová, D. (2003), ‘Women and the labor market in the Czech Republic: transition from Socialist to Social Democratic Regime?’, GLOBALIFE Working paper 46, Scholar
Hašková, H. (2007), ‘Kde ty jesle, školky jsou?’, Paper presented at the conference Rodičovská práce nebo rodičovská dovolená? Prague: Sociologický ústav AV ČR Scholar
Hašková, H. and Křížková, A. (2008), ‘The impact of EU accession on the promotion of women and gender equality in the Czech Republic’, in Roth, S. (eds.), Gender Issues and Women's Movement in the European Union, Oxford: Berghahn Books.Google Scholar
Hofmeister, H., Blossfeld, H. and Mills, M. (2006), ‘Globalization, uncertainty and women's mid-life courses: a theoretical framework’, in Blossfeld, H. P. and Hofmeister, H., Globalization, Uncertainty, and Women's Careers: An International Comparison, Cheltenham, UK and Northampton, MA, USA: Edward Elgar, Scholar
Kilkey, M. and Bradshaw, J. (1996), ‘Lone mothers, economic well-being, and politics’, in Dainsbury, D. (ed.), Gender and Welfare State Regimes, Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Kuchařová, V. (1999), ‘Women and employment’, Czech Sociological Review, 7: 2, 179–94.Google Scholar
Lück, D. and Hofäcker, D. (2003), ‘Rejection and acceptance of the male breadwinner model: which preferences do women have under which circumstances?’, Paper for the Annual Conference of The Network for European Social Policy Analysis (ESPAnet), Changing European Societies: The Role for Social Policy in Copenhagen, Denmark, 13–15 November 2003, Scholar
Lück, D. (2006), ‘Cross-national comparisons of gender role attitudes and their impact on women's life courses’, in Blossfeld, H. P. and Hofmeister, H. (eds.), Globalization, Uncertainty and Women's Careers: An International Comparison and Women in Society, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
Manning, N. (2004), ‘Diversity and change in pre-Accession Central and Eastern Europe since 1989’, Journal of European Social Policy, 14: 211–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Math, A. and Meilland, Ch. (2004), ‘Family related leave and industrial relations’, European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, European industrial relations observatory on-line, Scholar
Mc Donald, P. (2000), ‘Gender equity, social institutions, and the future of fertility’, Journal of Population Research, 17: 1, 116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
OECD (2005) Employment Outlook, Paris: OECD.Google Scholar
Olah, L. and Fratczak, E. (2004), ‘Becoming a mother in Hungary and Poland during State Socialism’, Demographic Research, Special Collection, 3: 214–35.Google Scholar
Pascall, G. and Kwak, A. (2005), Gender Regimes in Transition in Central and Eastern Europe, Bristol: Policy Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pascall, G. and Manning, N. (2000), ‘Gender and social policy: comparing welfare states in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union’, Journal of European Social Policy, 10: 240–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Plomien, A. (2004), ‘From socialism to capitalism: women and their changed relationship with the labor market in Poland’, GLOBALIFE Working paper 68, Scholar
Pollert, A. (2003) ‘Women, work and equal opportunities in post-Communist transition’, Work, Employment and Society, 17: 2, 331–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Roman, A. (2006), ‘Deviating from the standard: effects on labor continuity and career patterns’, Doctoral thesis, Utrecht University, Utrecht.Google Scholar
Rostgaard, T. (2004), ‘Early childhood policy in Central and Eastern Europe – a decade and half of transition’, Early Childhood and Family Policies Series, 8, Section for Early Childhood and Inclusive Education, UNESCO, Scholar
Ruhm, Ch. J. (February 1998), ‘The economic consequences of parental leave mandates: lesson from Europe’, The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 113: 1, 285317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rutkowski, J. and Scarpetta, S. (2005), Enhancing Job Opportunities: Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union, The World Bank.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Saxonberg, S. and Sirovátka, T. (2006), ‘Failing family policy in post-communist Central Europe’, Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis, 8: 2, 185202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Stier, H., Lewin-Epstein, N., Braun, M. (2001), ‘Welfare regimes, family-supportive policies, and women's employment along the life course’, Americal Journal of Sociology, 106: 6, 1731–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Szelewa, D. and Polakowski, M. P. (2008), ‘Who cares? Changing patterns of childcare in Central and Eastern Europe’, Journal of European Social Policy, 18: 115–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
True, J. (2002), ‘Gendering post-socialist transitions’, in McGrand, M. and Runyan, A. S. (eds.), Gender and Global Restructuring, New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
UNECE (2002), ‘Labor markets in transitional countries: gender aspects need more attentions’, Press Release ECE/OPA/02/08. Geneva: UNECE.Google Scholar
Van der Lippe, T. and Van Dijk, L. (2002), ‘Comparative research on women's employment’, Annual Review of Sociology, 28: 221–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Veenhoven, R. (2002), ‘Why social policy needs subjective indicators’, Social Indicators Research, 58: 3345.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Večerník, J. (2007), ‘Work values and job attitudes in the Czech Republic between 1997 and 2005’, Czech Sociological Review, 42: 6, 1195–219.Google Scholar
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Women's Perceptions of Consequences of Career Interruptions due to Childcare in Central and Eastern Europe
Available formats

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Women's Perceptions of Consequences of Career Interruptions due to Childcare in Central and Eastern Europe
Available formats

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Women's Perceptions of Consequences of Career Interruptions due to Childcare in Central and Eastern Europe
Available formats

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *