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.

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How partners in couples share unpaid work

This chapter examines how equally, or unequally, couples share unpaid work – i.e. housework and parenting. The chapter uses micro data from time use surveys in 11 countries to better understand how couples share unpaid work and can do so more equally. It begins by introducing the issues to hand, then lists the chapter’s main findings before looking at couples’ work, both paid and unpaid. It finds that, in many but not all countries, women do more work on aggregate. It also explores how couples of different ages share unpaid work and concludes that the gender gap in unpaid work is widest in older couples. It examines couples in which both partners do paid work and finds that, in general, they share unpaid work more equally than those where only one partner works. On the whole, though, the chapter finds that women do more work, paid and unpaid, as men. Section 4 looks at the factors that affect and shape the sharing of unpaid work and observes that with parenthood couples share paid and unpaid work the traditional way. The same section also considers child care and finds that, while mothers nurture young children, the gap in parenting between fathers and mothers decreases once children start school. Indeed, a high proportion of fathers’ time with their children is quality time. Section 5 gives consideration of care for other adults in the household and finds that in most countries partnered men are less likely to be involved in care than partnered women.

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