Motherhood: transformation in the family and in gender relations

This article makes a sociological reflection on the most striking changes in the patterns and experiences of contemporary motherhood, based on existing studies and research, trying to place the debate surrounding this process. It assumes that choosing motherhood is a modern phenomenon consolidated in the course of the twentieth century as a result of the progress of industrialization and urbanization. With increased access to formal education and professional training, women will tend to take up positions in public space, while remaining responsible for raising their children, which turns motherhood into a reflexive choice, enabled by modern contraception (and conception). This choice, however, is marked by the relations of class, race and ethnic background, and gender. The article concludes that we are currently experiencing a transition period toward a new model of family and motherhood, whose basis it the ideal of equally balanced parental responsibility that, despite some progress, is still far from having been attained.

motherhood; gender; family

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