Mary Brinton, Reischauer Institute, Professor of Sociology and Department Chair, Harvard University
Establishing greater gender equity in market work and in households is a shared goal for many postindustrial democracies. The logic behind this goal often stems from fairness concerns. This paper examines the issue from a demographic angle and examines the relationship between gender equity and fertility in postindustrial societies. We show that many of the societies currently experiencing what demographers term “lowest-low” fertility are precisely those where the gender-role revolution has stalled and where gender inequality remains high. In this sense, gender inequality in the 21st century can be considered a contributor to the negative population outcome of below-replacement fertility. This practical implication gives further impetus for movement towards greater gender equity.