About the project

In our project at the Department of Sociology at the University of Vienna we conduct interviews with parents living in Austria. Our main focus lies on the ways how parents reconcile and manage childcare and gainful employment.

Our research questions are:

  1. What are the parental arrangements regarding reconciliation of childcare and gainful employment and what are the employers’ reactions to the men’s desire to take paternal leave? 
  2. Whether and if so, how do gender-specific expectations at the workplace as well as gender-specific role models in private life influence the dual reconciliation of work and family?
  3. On the basis of the results we identify the reasons why fathers still consider getting childcare allowance and taking paternal leave to a significantly lesser extent than mothers.

Our study is being conducted in the time of great economic challenges. In our research, we try to identify the gender-specific effects these challenges can have on maintaining parental family and work balance. 

In our first empirical study taking place from summer 2021 to February 2021, we conduct interviews with parents living in Austria. Each interview lasts approximately 1.5 hours. As a compensation, each interviewee receives 20 euros. The study investigates the childcare allowance claims in Austria since the introduction of the new model in March 2017. We intend to include couples of all income groups and occupational fields by following diverse approaches to reach parents in Austria.

Thereafter, in two follow-up studies from December 2022 to April 2023 and from July 2023 until February 2024, we will be conducting interviews with individuals from the previous sample.

The project plan for 2023 and 2024 includes two conference presentations at the University of Vienna, at which we will present the research results. Furthermore, our study will be presented and discussed at academic conferences in an international context. An international comparison will also be a part of the planned research exchange with three universities:

- University of York, October 2022 (gender-specific aspects)
- University College London, November 2022 (parental leave regulations)
- Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon, spring 2023 (identifying social inequalities in the uptake of parental leave)

The results of our interviews will then be discussed in a wider academic sociological context especially with regard to the gender-specific issues.


Research Funding: Our research is funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF). Project number Elise Richter V 843-G.