This concluding chapter offers some recommendations for increasing and improving the role of longitudinal data in researching and analysing changes in women's lives and life courses. Change, such as has already been discussed, is a highly complex process which involves many factors. Some aspects of change are seen as systematic and predictable, others are seen as random or coincidental. Within this context, a key issue is to highlight how women are conceptualised in longitudinal studies, and how longitudinal research can probe deep into women's life courses. It is argued in this chapter that there must be an attempt to understand whether gender inequality is effectively investigated within longitudinal studies and whether it has potential to be investigated in the first place. It is also argued that the final aim should be to go beyond the ‘indirect gender indicator’ model, and replace it with a research approach that is able to highlight important aspects of women's roles, and the ways in which these are changing. Among the recommendations discussed in this closing chapter are: research on women should be contextualised with information on other actors within the private domestic sphere and outside households; topics and questions should be compiled in a gender-sensitive manner; a connection between the concepts of dependence and unpaid work, including gender equality and economic autonomy should be analysed; there should be inclusion of topics relevant to the analysis of gender differences as they open broader avenues for researchers; and gender-sensitive research should combine the ‘qualitative’ and ‘quantitative’ dimensions.
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