A1 Journal article (refereed)
Young women’s contradictory expectations and their perceived capabilities for future work-family reconciliation in Finland (2022)

Alakärppä, O., Sevón, E., Norman, H., & Rönkä, A. (2022). Young women’s contradictory expectations and their perceived capabilities for future work-family reconciliation in Finland. Journal of Youth Studies, Early online, 1-16. https://doi.org/10.1080/13676261.2022.2098703

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsAlakärppä, Outi; Sevón, Eija; Norman, Helen; Rönkä, Anna

Journal or seriesJournal of Youth Studies



Publication year2022

Publication date12/07/2022

VolumeEarly online

Pages range1-16

PublisherTaylor & Francis

Publication countryUnited Kingdom

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessNot open

Publication channel open access

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/82309

Publication is parallel publishedhttps://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/188805/


This paper explores young women’s expectations on future work-family reconciliation in Finland, a Nordic country well-known for the promotion of gender equality. Utilising Sen’s capabilities approach, we content-analysed thirty individual interviews to identify differences in women’s expectations and their perceived capabilities in future work and care. The results showed that irrespective of their labour market status and educational attainment, the women’s expectations were contradictory, reflecting a current Finnish gender culture that embraces both the ideal of shared parenthood and the primacy of maternal care. Between-group differences were also found. The employed women perceived themselves as having the capability to balance work, family and, personal time in the future. The women who were studying and had higher education- and career-related expectations perceived themselves as capable of combating gender inequality in their future working lives. In contrast, the unemployed women perceived their capabilities in both their future work and care as limited, thereby constraining their agency to realise their choices in work-family reconciliation and family decision-making. These findings indicate that Finnish women’s expectations on future work-family reconciliation are shaped by institutional, societal and individual socioeconomic factors.

Keywordswomenexpectationsfamily lifematernityparenthoodworkworking lifeworkingcombiningidealsgender rolesinequalityequality (values)level of educationfuture

Free keywordsyoung women; expectations; work-family reconciliation; capabilities

Contributing organizations

Related projects

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2022

JUFO rating2

Last updated on 2024-03-04 at 17:35