This paper compares Italy and Great Britain and uses event history data and methods to investigate changes across cohorts in the effect of family responsibilities on women’s transitions in and out of paid work. My findings show that women’s attachment to paid work has increased and that education and/or class has marked the divide, as predicted by human capital theory. However, the effects of marriage and motherhood are, ceteris paribus, stronger in a residualist-liberal welfare regime such as the British one. In Italy, where demand for labour is relatively low and gender role norms are quite traditional, reconciliation policies are weak but largely compensated by intergenerational and kinship solidarity, fewer women enter paid work, but when they do so, they interrupt less when becoming wives or mothers.
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