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

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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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Partnerships, family composition and the division of labour: Germany in the context of the OECD

German family policy seeks to promote equal partnerships in families in furtherance of its objective of enabling parents to have children, spend more time with them, and participate in the labour market. This chapter seeks to provide context and perspective. It begins by looking at demography in Germany and other OECD countries, with particular focus on fertility, family make-up, marriage and the rise of cohabitation. Section 3 addresses women’s role in the labour market. It finds that, although there has been strong growth in female employment over the last 15 years, German women continue to earn less than men and are all too often confined to part-time work. Yet they are increasingly well educated, and often better educated than men. The next section finds that inequality also prevails in unpaid work in the home, where women still do the lion’s share of housework and parenting. Section 5 considers widespread dissatisfaction with the struggle to balance work and family life, while the final section examines how a more equal gender distribution of paid work might impact on the German labour force and German economic performance.

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