According to a new study, more than 60 percent of German working mothers worked part-time jobs. This is because women carry the majority of childcare duties. Researchers believe that the trend is a significant cause of the pay disparity between men and women.
German women continue to progress in necessary gender equality measures. However, there is still a significant gap regarding childcare in a study conducted by the Institute of Economic and Social Research (WSI) at the Hans Bockler Foundation published on Wednesday.
In the areas of earnings and employment, women have seen progress. Women’s participation in the labor market as of the year 2020 was still 7percent lower than males between 15 and 64 however, in 1991, the difference was just 21 percent.
In the field of education, German women had higher averages than males. In 2019, 41 percent of females and 39% of males in Germany held a high school certificate or a qualification that allowed them to attend technical colleges.
Although women are becoming more competitive for their jobs, they’re far less likely to hold the top positions than males. In 2020, just 11% of the posts on the board of the top 160 listed companies in Germany were filled by women.
The study also highlighted the persistent differences in wages. The hourly average earnings for women was recently EUR18.62 euros/hour ($21), approximately EUR4.16 euros which are 18% less than men’s.
The wage gap in Germany is decreasing slowly. However, women have a lower retirement income than men if statutory pensions, occupational and private old-age benefits are considered.
Children a significant burden for working women
Researchers believe this can be due to women pursuing careers in service-related, low-paying work, while men are more likely to choose high-paying or technical jobs.
The gender pay gap is primarily due to women having four times the likelihood to work part-time, balancing work with family obligations.
The study refers to official statistics showing that only 26.7 percent of couples with children in Germany were full-time. About 67.7 percent of mothers who worked were part-time employees, in contrast to 1.9 percent males.
The study found that in Germany, “women continue to take care of most childcare,” researchers wrote. They discovered that while 98 percent of mothers benefit from parental leave, only 42% of men took advantage of this benefit in the past year.
The supply of childcare in institutions has shown the growing trend of women cutting down their childcare hours. Although the hours for daycare facilities have increased in Germany in the last decade, just 48% of children between the ages of 3 and six, and only 20 percent of kids under one, were in full-time daycare in institutions.
“The current demand for hours of childcare in Germany has not been satisfied,” researchers wrote, saying the possibility of gender equality being enhanced by increasing full-time daycare facilities for children.
COVID-19 could be a factor in the worsening of things
Researchers observed that the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus appeared to have eased the burden of childcare. Before the pandemic, 62 percent of women provided most of the childcare. However, that number fell to 53% by April 2020.
Before the pandemic, 5percent of fathers were able to provide most of the child care, but this figure rose to 13% when the epidemic began.
In June 2021, however, the percentage of women providing most childcare rose to a higher rate than before the pandemic, reaching 71 percent, while the proportion of males decreased to 77%.
The outbreak has also proven that women’s careers are less secured and less resilient to crisis than males’. Research suggests that women are most affected by job losses and shorter working hours — particularly in the lowest-income segments of service-related jobs, also known as “mini-jobs,” severely impacted by the epidemic.