Practices in Egalitarian Partnerships: New Findings from German Families

Tuesday, 12 July 2016
Location: Hörsaal 41 (Main Building)
Distributed Paper
Magdalena GERUM, German Youth Institute, Germany
Claudia ZERLE-ELSASSER, German Youth Institute, Germany
Karin JURCZYK, German Youth Institute, Germany
In Germany, the birth of the first child is still closely connected with a re-traditionalisation of gender roles: mothers step back from their career, at least temporarily, to devote to childcare, while the fathers focus on breadwinning. When the youngest child turns three years old, most families follow an „one-and-a-half-breadwinner-model“ – with the father working full-time and the mother working part-time and being the ones who have to balance work and family. However, many parents desire a model in which both partners share  paid work and family care to equal parts, in other words, a „really egalitarian partnership“.
The present study looks for these “really egalitarian partnerships” where paid and unpaid work is shared equally. The analyses are based on the AID:A II dataset, a large survey conducted by the German Youth Institute, Munich. Featuring a “Doing Family” section and in parts a multi-actor design (with both father and mother responses), this survey includes around 12,000 families with a child under 17 years of age. The data allows identifying “really egalitarian partnerships” from the sample and comparing them with other more or less egalitarian arrangements in terms of influencing factors of the distribution of paid and unpaid work. First findings suggest that the number and age of children, the education level of mothers and fathers as well as personal attitudes like gender concepts are closely related to the level of egalitarianism in families. The results will also shed light on the actual “doing family” in families with different wok/childcare arrangements: How exactly do they combine work and childcare, how did these arrangements come to be, what motives were important when deciding and how satisfied are they with their arrangements?