Gender egalitarianism and lifelong singlehood

Gosta Esping-Andersen, Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Daniela Bellani, Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Lesia Nedoluzhko, Universitat Pompeu Fabra

Our focus is on women who by age 40 have never experienced a longer-term (more than six months’ duration) heterosexual co-residential partnership. Our main concern is with the influence of the diffusion of gender egalitarian attitudes on singlehood across educational strata. Its incidence is about three percent of households across the European Union, ranging from a low of 1.5 percent in Denmark and Sweden to a high of 7 percent in Ireland and Portugal. What explains such cross-national variations? Our main thesis is that they are closely correlated with prevailing levels of gender egalitarianism. We expect low levels where traditional couple life prevails. In turn, as gender symmetric norms eventually diffuse throughout the population, we should observe a return to low levels of non-partnering. In this study, we apply multilevel modeling to 25 European countries and focus in particular on differences in non-partnering across levels of education.

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Presented in Session 118: Union formation and singlehood