The Rise in Support for Gender Egalitarianism in the Netherlands, 1979-2006: The Roles of Educational Expansion, Secularization, and Female Labor Force Participation. By: Thijs, Paula; Te Grotenhuis, Manfred; Scheepers, Peer; van den Brink, Marieke. Sex Roles. Nov2019, Vol. 81 Issue 9/10, p594-609. 16p. 2 Charts, 1 Graph.

Since the 1960s, public support for gender egalitarianism has risen substantially in many western countries. Although earlier research proposed that structural and cultural developments, such as educational expansion, declining religiosity, and the rise of women’s employment may explain this upward trend, these theoretical speculations have not yet been thoroughly tested. In the present research, we aim to contribute to the existing literature by empirically analyzing the influence of educational expansion, secularization, and the rise of women’s labor force participation on support for gender egalitarianism in the Netherlands and to explore to what extent these influences differ for men and women. We use repeated cross-sectional survey data from the Netherlands involving 12,146 men and 13,858 women. To capture cohort and period effects, we include historical and contemporary contextual measures of educational expansion, secularization, and female labor force participation obtained from population censuses and labor force surveys, covering about 100 birth cohorts and 25 survey years. Of these three indicators, educational expansion contributed most to the rise in men’s, and particularly women’s, support for gender egalitarianism by changing the normative societal climate in which men and women have grown up and live. Promoting educational levels may therefore have far-reaching benefits for gender equality.