The sharing of household chores may influence the number of children a couple decides to have, according to new research to be presented this week at the Australian Social Policy Conference at UNSW.

Dr Lyn Craig, from the Social Policy Research Centre (SPRC) at UNSW says it appears that 'relationship satisfaction' and domestic 'fairness' has a bearing on whether a second child is born into that family and whether the parents stay together.

This is one of 150 papers and three keynote presentations to be delivered at the three-day event, which is hosted by UNSW's SPRC. The theme of this year's conference is 'Social Policy through the Life Course: Building Community Capacity and Social Resilience'.

Three internationally renowned researchers will give major speeches including Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, a Professor in Child Development and Education at Columbia University, who will recommend a better mix of early learning programs and policies to help school readiness for children who are disadvantaged. Her research shows that gaps including vocabulary and cognition are seen early - often by three years of age.

The other keynote speakers are Professor Barbara Pocock, Director of the Centre for Work + Life at the University of South Australia ('Governing Work Life Intersections in Australia over the Life Course') and Fiona Williams, a Professor in Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Leeds ('Shifting child-care policies and practices in Western Europe').

On Thursday, four provocative forums will be held concurrently on topics including 'Rethinking Indigenous policies and programs' and 'Australia's demographic challenges'. Participants include some of Australia's top academics and representatives from government and Non-Government Organisations.

For the full conference program go to the SPRC website

What: 2007 Australian Social Policy Conference When: 9.30am Wednesday 11th - Friday 13th JulyWhere: UNSW Kensington Campus

For media wishing to attend the conference, please contact: Susi Hamilton, UNSW media unit, 9385 1583 or 0422 934 024