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Dare to Share: Germany's Experience Promoting Equal Partnership in Families

image of Dare to Share: Germany's Experience Promoting Equal Partnership in Families

This review introduces the background to and issues at stake in promoting equal partnerships in families in Germany.  It encourages German policy makers to build on the important reforms since the mid-2000s to enable both fathers and mothers to have careers and children, and urges families to “dare to share”. To those ends it places Germany’s experience in an international comparison, and draws from the experience in, for example, France and the Nordic countries which have longstanding policies to support work-life balance and strengthen gender equality. The review starts with an overview chapter also explaining why and how equal sharing pays for families, children, the economy and society as a whole. The book presents current outcomes, policy trends, as well as detailed analysis of the drivers of paid and unpaid work and how more equal partnerships in families may help sustain fertility rates.  The book examines policies to promote partnership, looking both at persistent shortcomings and progress achieved through reform since the mid-2000s. The book includes a set of policy recommendations designed to enable parents to share work and family responsibilities more equally.

English German

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Equal sharing and having children in Germany and France

This chapter concludes Dare to Share with a comparison of fertility behaviours in Germany and France. The point of departure is the disparity between France’s high rates of fertility and Germany’s low ones. The purpose is to explore how Germany might draw on French practices and policies to strengthen equal partnership in families so that German parents can have children and careers. Section 2 looks at the persistent fertility gap between the two countries, identifying France’s family-friendly child care policies as a key factor. Section 3 then goes on to consider the discrepancy between mothers’ desire for children and their childlessness, which is much higher in Germany than in France. Again policy is a critical determinant, though Germany’s more traditional perceptions of gender roles also have a part to play. Section 4 stresses how couples’ levels of educational attainment, earnings and length of working hours affect fertility. Some concluding remarks wrap up the chapter. They stress that policy changes since 2007 have helped ease the conflict between full-time work and parenthood. More equal sharing in families and public action to reconcile work and family life may further help to sustain tentatively rising fertility trends.

English German

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