It’s a bit like trying to put out the fire in the next town when a running tap quietly and secretly floods the first floor of a house. While women were paid or unpaid to care for children, sick people and family meals, the unfair distribution of labor and care intensified.
“This is a crisis for women in the labor market,” economist Michèle Tertilt of the University of Mannheim said at the SZ PlanW congress in Berlin. During the corona pandemic, the 49-year-old man researched the disadvantage of women in the workforce. In Germany and 30 other countries, women assumed most of the extra care tasks, ie childcare, housework, caring for relatives. For this, many have had to reduce hours or give up work at certain times.
But why women in particular?
On the one hand, this is due to their working relationship. Even at the age of 25, 30, 35, a lot of women’s employment stories have an economic quirk. Because childcare is still really distributed 50 to 50 among the fewest couples. Globally, four times as many women as men work part time. Spousal splitting, which favors families with a primary breadwinner, encourages traditional roles. Parental leave helps, according to communications researcher Almut Schnerring. “But some don’t even know you can divide it differently from 12 and two ‘month dad’.”
When daycares closed in the name of the state, it was often the above-average women who put their professional development aside because of their reduced hours and income.
It was also what was expected of them, says Almut Schnerring, who argues in his books against the unfair distribution of care work. “We think we are super progressive in terms of equality,” she said. It started again in children’s rooms. While boys are allowed to be wild and play outside, girls are more expected to clear the table or look after their smaller siblings. “Boys ‘shoes are waterproof, girls’ shoes are pretty,” says the communications researcher, summarizing her thoughts on the roles children are expected to play.
And later, one thing will make you money and the other won’t. “I am not working at the moment, I am taking care of the children”, quotes Schmerring of the women on parental leave. But what about the economy if someone doesn’t take care of the kids, meals, and housework. “Care work is the basis of all economic activity,” explains the author. And the appreciation must change accordingly.
Corona revealed the weaknesses of the system
The side effects are not due to the Sars-Cov-2 virus itself, but to stubborn structures that survive, although more and more fathers have recently been seen in major cities with baby carriers and that an East German woman has ruled the country for 16 years. . Corona exposed the weaknesses of the system and showed that the three women on the podium agree and that there is still too little participation from the men.
Marija Linnhof experienced it herself, she is a single parent with two children and is today the head of the association of independent travel agencies. Overnight she had women on the phone crying from severe psychological stress. 90 percent of the work in the industry is women, but 50 percent of travel agency owners are men, Linnhof says. So she began to fight for independent offices of federal politics. “As a woman, I was totally underestimated, the big bosses of tourism are all men,” she says.
Too bad for a crisis. Besides the question of how long it will take for Germany to recover economically, it is also not known when equality in the labor market will be possible. A serious answer cannot be given even on the Monday following the legislative elections. But the three women discussing the Plan W congress agree on many points, at least on the way to get there.
“The splitting of spouses must be abolished immediately,” said economist Michèle Tertilt. There are no opposing opinions in the group. The Swedes had already abolished such models in the 1970s. In addition, the economist from Mannheim is in favor of a greater number of nursery places. But Almut Schnerring warns: “It can’t be the solution to completely outsource care to go to work yourself,” she says. And advocates that men and women have more space for care work in their professional life, for example for a 30-hour week.
But it just starts with “waterproof boys’ shoes” and other little things in education that help determine whether all genders later feel equally responsible for housework and children.