The Effect of Pregnancy on Engagement with Politics. Toward a Model of the Political Consequences of the Earliest Stages of Parenthood

How do pregnancy and childbirth affect engagement in politics and society? Our data from a large-scale citizen panel record political engagement before, during, and after pregnancy for (future) mothers and fathers. We find that women demobilize from politics and societal issues during pregnancy. This disengagement is strongest for indicators of political participation and seeking of political news. Our analysis also shows that gender gaps in political engagement are not only strengthened but also partly created in the earliest stages of parenthood. Although the effects are relatively minor, they are robust to various analysis techniques. Some effects also last until the child grows older. Pregnancy and childbirth rarely lead to political mobilization, and when they do, they concern child-related activities, such as attempts to change daycare providers, but only at later stages of early parenthood.

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License CC BY
Type Journal Articles
C-ID POLS 130 - Comparative