This thesis is concerned with issues of Social Demography, which means that it aims at investigating determinants of demographic behaviours rather than demographic behaviours ‘in se.’ More specifically, I adopted a gender perspective to analyse, understand and explain reproductive behaviours and trends in family formation among the Norwegian population.
The idea to develop this study comes from my participation to the course in Social Demography held by Prof. Antonella Pinnelli at the Faculty of Statistical Science in the Academic Year 2000-2001. Her passionate emphasis on the adoption of a gender perspective to understand demographic behaviours fascinated me since the beginning and offered me the stimulus to start researching the field.
The choice of
- The enormous importance attached to gender equality issues at all levels of society and the remarkable achievements made by Norwegian women on the roads to gender stability.
- Its demographic peculiarity, which has reached a stage so advanced and mature to be regarded as post-modern. In a nutshell, and according to Lesthaege (1995)’s theories on the Second Demographic Transition, Norway may be placed at the last stage of the process, with the progress in gender equality accounting the most for the only apparent contradictoriness between the de-industrialisation of the family and a fertility among the highest in the European context, being since the end of the eighties fairly close to the replacement level.
The combination of both elements of modernity and traditionalism with regards to family and fertility patterns, together with an enviable level of gender equality in all spheres of society make of Norway an out-of-the-ordinary laboratory to test hypotheses on the influence of the gender system on demographic behaviours.