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 editors: Alakärppä, Outi; Sevón, Eija; Norman, Helen; Rönkä, Anna

Journal or series: Journal of Youth Studies

ISSN: 1367-6261

eISSN: 1469-9680

Publication year: 2022

Publication date: 12/07/2022

Volume: Early online

Pages range: 1-16

Publisher: Taylor & Francis

Publication country: United Kingdom

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13676261.2022.2098703

Publication open access: Not open

Publication channel open access:

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

Publication is parallel published: https://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.

Keywords: women; expectations; family life; maternity; parenthood; work; working life; working; combining; ideals; gender roles; inequality; equality (values); level of education; future

Free keywords: young women; expectations; work-family reconciliation; capabilities

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Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2022

Preliminary JUFO rating: 2

Last updated on 2023-03-04 at 09:09