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Parenthood Pushes Women into Unpaid Work

Chart of the Month – August 2017

In Germany, couples without children are mostly living in an equal relationship. However, childbirth still reinforces the traditional gender roles of men and women. According to a recent study carried out by the Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB), young parents work up to 65 hours per week either paid or unpaid, but there are huge differences concerning the field of work. Women are mainly responsible for the childcare after the first child is born. Their amount of time invested in household and childcare activities sums up to about 51 hours. In contrast, their professional engagement declines to an average of 12 hours per week. Fathers, however, focus on their role as the breadwinner of the family. They averagely work 31 hours per week in their professional occupation. Another 32 hours are filled with unpaid work in the household, childcare, personal education and commuting.

The unequal time allocation of paid professional work and unpaid household duties mostly affects the status of women within the partnership in as much as it rigidifies the traditional understanding of roles. “Although the awareness for a better reconciliation of work and family life increased, the birth of a child still leads to reverting of traditionalism”, Ralina Panova explains, sociologist at the BiB. As a result, young mothers often have to sacrifice their career opportunities and are likely to earn less than the fathers which also negatively affects their old-age protection later in life.

The picture shows a bar chart which illustrates the time use of men and women in hours per week. Paid and Unpaid Work of Men and Women

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© Federal Institute for Population Research - 2017