Fifty-Fifty? Betriebliche und politische Rahmenbedingungen egalitärer Erwerbsarbeits- und Familienzeiten

Aim of the project:


The project examines how general conditions established by politics and employers influence the division of family work and paid labor between parents of young children. Even if there has been a lot of change in family politics in recent years, employment rates and working times still differ strikingly between women and men, especially between mothers and fathers. There are still only a few fathers who take parental leave for more than two months, or work part time temporarily – even though studies show that fathers would prefer to spend more time with their families. In contrast, mothers in Germany are mainly not in employment or work only for a few hours. Due to these findings, this project asks why such traditional gender roles continue to exist and under which circumstances, in terms of laws or company policies, fathers and mothers divide paid and family work equally.

Main content
Project description


1. Context

Despite the relevant improvement, in institutional frameworks in Germany and the modernization of cultural gender roles, the division of family and paid work between mothers and fathers is still unequally and follows gender stereotypical patterns. This unequal distribution crucially supports gender inequalities in the jobs market and in the life course. These includes pay differences between men and women, the underrepresentation of women in the management levels and great discrepancies in income for older women, due to pauses in paid labor as well as employment that is not commensurate to skills. Furthermore, subjects as “compatibility” and “partnership” are becoming increasingly important. This is because economic success and a high level of satisfaction are only achievable if family and occupation both are compatible for women and men.


2. Research question

This project focuses on the political and the employment framework conditions for compatibility on a partnership basis and tries to find answers for the following questions: What factors support parents in investing equally in paid as well as in unpaid work? Under what circumstances do fathers reduce their working time in favor of parenting or caring duties? What could help mothers to stay employed even after the birth of a child so that they are economically independent? Do both partners have to work full-time due to economic needs or do especially high skilled couples with progressive gender roles work in such constellations, because they often can decide more autonomously about their working conditions and because work for them is more than breadwinning? How can unions, work councils and HR councils support parents and their wish for more partnership?


3. Research methods

We examine the political and employment conditions that lead to an equal division of family and paid work between parents of young children by means of quantitative as well as qualitative data. For that, we use internationally comparative data of the European Union Labor Force Survey (EU LFS). Second, we analyze in 2014/2015 gathered data of the BMFSFJ-financed project “Betriebliche Gelingensbedingungen einer partnerschaftlichen Aufteilung von Familien- und Erwerbsarbeit". These include, on the one hand, 65 qualitative interviews with parents, and on the other hand, quantitative data from a survey of almost 1000 mothers and 1000 fathers that was conducted additionally to the survey Aufwachsen in Deutschland: Alltagswelten (AID: A II) of the German Youth Institute (DJI).

Selected Publications

Bekker, S., Hipp, L., Leschke, J.& Molitor, F. (2017): „Part-Time Fathers and Mothers?. Comparing Part-Time Employment in Germany, Sweden, Ireland and the Netherlands”. In: De Groof, S. (Ed.): Work-Life Balance in the Modern Workplace. Interdisciplinary Perspectives from Work-Family Research, Law and Policy. Bulletin of Comparative Labour Relations, Vol. 98. Alphen aan den Rijn: Wolters Kluwer, S. 27-50.

Bernhardt, J. & Bünning, M. (2017), "Arbeitszeiten von Vätern: welche Rolle spielen betriebskulturelle und betriebsstrukturelle Rahmenbedingungen?". In: Zeitschrift für Familienforschung. Jg. 29, H. 1, S. 49-71.

Bünning, Mareike (2016): "Die Vereinbarkeitsfrage für Männer. Welche Auswirkungen haben Elternzeiten und Teilzeitarbeit auf die Stundenlöhne von Vätern?". In: Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie, Jg. 68, H. 4, S. 597-618. (vorab online publiziert 24.10.2016)

Hipp, L. & Molitor, F. (2016), "Gender gaps: warum wir über Zeit sprechen müssen“. In: BMAS (Hg.) Wie wir arbeiten (wollen), Werkheft 02.

Hipp, L., Molitor, F., Leschke, J. & Bekker, S. (2017), "Teilzeitväter? Deutschland, Schweden, Irland und die Niederlande im Vergleich". In: Zeitschrift für Familienforschung, Jg. 29, H. 1, S. 32-48.