International and national studies of norms and gender division of work at the life course transition to parenthood 
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Apparent ROLES
Apparent NEWS
Apparent ACTS
Apparent CAREERS

THE APPARENT PROJECT is organized in four subprojects:

Apparent ROLES
– Professional perceptions of new parent's roles
Apparent NEWS – Portraying new parents in the paper
Apparent ACTS – Actualizing new parenthood in everyday life
Apparent CAREERS – Employment transitions at entry into parenthood

ROLES Professional perceptions of new parent's roles

The objective of this project is two-fold. First, it aims to map parenting roles and standards as defined and disseminated by health care and family professionals who work in the prenatal and postnatal sector. As virtually all expectant mothers in the selected countries use prenatal and postnatal health care services, these professionals have a direct influence on what new parents know and do. The study seeks to explore how these professionals define parenting roles, and how they view their own role in shaping and disseminating social norms and standards about parenting behaviour of new fathers and mothers. Second, the project utilizes these professionals as experts of the local and national prenatal and postnatal field.The data for this project will consist of expert interviews with gynaecologists, midwives, and family councils in the seven countries and will use verbal probing and questioning. The interview data will be supplemented by the analysis of documents and secondary materials.   

NEWS Portraying new parents in the paper

The main objective of this project is to look at the way new fathers and mothers have been represented in mass print media in several countries, and how apparent changes of gender roles and parenting norms came about. This project will consist of quantitative content analysis of advertisements and editorial content in mainstream and leftist daily news papers, between 1980 and 2010. It will compare not only cross-nationally, but also over time how parenting norms and standards – as disseminated in the media – have changed and whether these images converged across countries. A second objective of this project is to identify contemporary national profiles of 'good' mothers and fathers in the media, and to compare them with the features identified in the first project, and also with the features of the traditional male breadwinner and female homemaker norm as portrayed in the 1950s. This subproject will require development of a codebook that will capture quantifiable variables and will make extensive use of findings from the first project.

ACTS Actualizing new parenthood in everyday life

This project aims study how expectant and new parents perceive and embody the images, norms and ideals disseminated by health care professionals and by newspapers. It will assess under which conditions these norms about motherhood and fatherhood are perceived as important and when couples look for orientation elsewhere. Also, it will be studied if normative frames change after the birth of the child. Interviews with nascent parents (heterosexual cohabiting/married couples) (a) a few months before the expected birth of their first child and, (b) about one year after the birth, will be analyzed in comparative perspective, in collaboration with foreign researchers in all seven countries. For some countries these data will be available already at the beginning of the project (Ger, Swe, Nl, It). This third project will deeply engage with the findings from the previous two projects and look for cues of how the cultural discourse about parenthood translates into new parents' everyday life.   

CAREERS Employment transitions at entry into parenthood

This last project will complement the other three projects and assess how common the qualitative samples from the third project are in terms of demographics, attitudes, and the behavioural patterns of dividing paid and unpaid work and child care. The project assesses how welfare states, labour markets and family policies target at mothers and fathers roles as earners and care givers, and how this has changed in recent decades. The focus is two-fold: First, the project will explore gendered patterns of employment interruption and part-time work for parents and assess their career consequences in comparative perspective. Second, the project will assess associations between national context and gender roles using multilevel regression, where institutional and other macro-level variables will be merged with individual-level data. Based on the findings from the other three projects it will also supply important methodological innovations in how to measure sex roles in cross-national perspective. 

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