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Lockdown parenting widens gender gap

Does raising a child during a pandemic drive gender inequality? By analyzing survey results from last year, Lena Hipp and Mareike Bünning - researchers with the Work and Care Research Group - suggest that parenting has unequally affected women and men in Germany, especially during lockdown months.

Exploratory analyses of three waves of data collected between March and August 2020 via www.corona-alltag.de in Germany show that parents were more likely to report reduced working hours during the early phases of the pandemic. However, once lockdown measures were lifted, it was mainly mothers that continued to do so. As a result, the domestic division of labor remained largely unchanged with mothers continuing to spend substantively more time on both housework and childcare than fathers.

Additionally, when questioned about their their satisfaction with different life domains, mothers tended to be less satisfied with work, family, and even life in general throughout the lockdown. With the gradual lifting of the lockdown, mothers’ and fathers’ satisfaction with family life and life in general converged again, whereas mothers continued to report lower work satisfaction.. However, the study also reports much variation here, depending on different parental and partnership constellations.

Mareike Bünnin, Lena Hipp
David Ausserhofer

Mareike Bünning is Research Fellow of the Research Group Work and Care. Lena Hipp is Head of the Research Group.

Data and replication material available here.