Role Models and Stereotypes in Germany from 1962 until Today – Women, Household Chores and Employment. an Empirical Longitudinal Study.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 10:00
Location: Hörsaal 41 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Sabrina SCHOETTLE, Heinrich-Heine-University Duesseldorf, Germany
If, as many believe, Western European countries were undergoing extensive changes in gender roles, attitudes and behaviors due to cultural, political, legal and economic changes during the last 50 years - why was it not yet empirically examined? This longitudinal study deals with the question to what extent gender stereotypical attitudes and female role models underwent changes in the last half-century in Western Germany. Based on a representative survey named “The Situation of Mothers in Western-Germany” from 1962 data were compared and analyzed with data of the German General Social Survey (GGSS) 2012 using multiple linear regressions. For evaluation and discussion cultural, political and legal contextual factors from 1962 and the present were consulted. As a result, the analyses show partial changes in social attitudes, in gender-differentiated paradigms and behaviors. Possible explanations consist of an individualization process in the German society, an increase in female employment, the expansion of the education sector as well as the modification of political and legal arrangements throughout time. In the 1960s, gender role models were implemented very strictly and shaped daily life, as a consequence of collective norms and rules. The allocation of women to specific parts of the private as well as the professional life - especially to their family and household - was deeply ingrained in the population. At present, gender roles and -stereotypes in Germany have been modified, but not fully extensive. Hierarchical behaviors and attitudes still exists in daily life, contrary to popular opinion: women are still mainly responsible for reproduktionwork like housework and childcare, even if they are full-time breadwinners like their husbands. Policy makers should consider these results for further family and gender policies like the expansion of day care centers as a possibility to make traditional attitudes and behaviors losing influence.