Part-time careers in Norway - the end of normalization?

Women’s working time adaptation in a longitudinal perspective.


working time


About the project

In this project, we aim to further our understanding of women's working time patterns over their life-course, across various cohorts, occupations and between women of various countries of origin.

The historical perspective will also be important and we compare part-time choices over the last decades.


The project aims to contribute to our understanding of:

  1. The extent to which part-time work in Norway has become normalized, a trap or a transitional phase for different groups of women and the forces driving these processes.
  2. How the cultural, organizational and institutional framework shape part-time choices in four occupations.
  3. The opportunities and constrains women face when entering different life-course phases and how their working time choices and rationale for part-time work adapts to conditions prevailing at their workplace. In a comparative perspective, this is particularly interesting as Norway is seen as a forerunner with regard to gender equality on the labour market and in family life.


A key question is whether different cohorts of women, corresponding to the three main life phases early motherhood, late motherhood and "empty nest", are similar or different with regard to their working time choices. Moreover we examine if the rationale behind the choices can be understood as similar or different over time. Other variables that will be taken into account are educational level, ethnicity, and occupational context.

The research design is based on a mixed-method approach where quantitative, comparative and qualitative techniques are applied to analyse a rich variety of data. We will analyze part-time careers among Norwegian women by register based data (employee registers covering 1995-2012 with information on e.g. number and age of children, marital status, occupational affiliation and country of origin). Based on these data we'll look at (potential) changes over time in total and among different groups of women (mothers with small children/older children, low/high education etc.).

Initially we'll look at part time rates, and mobility from part-time to full-time. Moreover we will explore the structure of part-time work, and seek explanations for this structure, by conducting in depth interviews with part-time working women and their employers. Finally we will examine the discourse related to part-time work as it is presented in social policy documents and in the public opinion/mass media over the last two decades. The discourse analysis is crucial to identify how political actors, social partners and other actors have tried to influence women's decision to work part-time.


Funding scheme

Project period

November 2014 - November 2017

Published Nov. 4, 2016 1:46 PM - Last modified May 14, 2018 12:41 PM