Re this Yglesias post about Sweden, and comment thread, female participation in the labor force is influenced by government policies as well as culture, such as subsidized daycare and paid parental leave, with a month reserved for daddies, which makes it easier for both parents to never leave the workforce. (There’s also surely a feedback loop between policies and culture.)
The Swedish approach goes back all the way to the 30′s and the natalist feminist stance Gunnar and esp. Alva Myrdal persuaded the Social Democrat government to adopt. Continental countries, maybe especially CDU-dominated Germany chose a very different approach, which encouraged women to be homemakers, and now perhaps discourages them from becoming mothers.
The Myrdals were motivated by feminism, but also by their worries about declining birth rates in the 30s, and interest in Edward’s favorite subject, the connection between economics and demography. People stopped paying attention to those issues when the baby boom started.
That Sweden’s birth rates haven’t declined to the same extent as Germany’s is then the outcome of conscious policies.
Natalism is generally associated with reactionary politics in many countries, but feminist natalism is the kind that actually works.