Gender Gap: Unfair Care Work |

Gender Care Gap
Women are entitled to an incredible amount of money for their care work

© Seventyfour / Brigitte

Gender Care Gap. Or: How much money women should get for their care work.

How does this sheer injustice come about that women only have half as much wealth as men? There are many reasons for that. One of the biggest ones – and we should really discuss it much more often – is not the gender pay, but the gender care gap. The fact is that in heterosexual relationships, due to upbringing, a lack of role models and many other factors, women are still pushed into the role of the carer who usually works at home and men are still pushed into the role of the wage-earning breadwinner who is mostly absent from home . This in turn leads to that even today a woman in Germany does significantly more care work every day than a manand that this gap is called the gender care gap.

The gender care gap is a whopping 83 percent

In hours, this value looks like this: On average, a woman does 4 hours and 13 minutes of care work a day, a man 2 hours and 46 minutes. If children come into play – you can probably imagine – the gender care gap in this country increases to a whopping 83 percent.

If all of this is still too abstract for you, this number could perhaps finally take your shoes off: if the care work that girls and women around the world do for free were at least compared to one Pay the minimum wage, Oxfam calculated a few years ago That would be equivalent to 24 times the sales of Apple, Facebook and Google combined. Together!

Now you might think that the gender care gap is just a problem in relationships with children. Childless couples should not fall into these traps. Unfortunately, that’s not true: the gender care gap between childless couples is still an incredible 36 percent! How many of these childless couples actually work the same amount? Only 58 percent.

Women work a “second shift” at home – just without pay

That means: A large proportion of couples without children also drive the traditional model He works full time, she works part time. Why? Because even in childless couples, the woman spends longer hours cooking and cleaning, planning and shopping, thinking about what her mother-in-law will get for her birthday, taking the dog to dog school, caring for her bedridden dad, and washing bed linen and so on. And this care work eats up more of their time and resources and less of his. And so much more that sociologists have long been talking about one “Second layer” talk that women go to after their first shift in the company.

What do these women working in care actually have to earn every year? There are studies on this too. And depending on estimates, these amount to between 30,000 euros and – beware – 180,000 euros per year! That can make your mouth water, right?

In other countries, courts award women money for care work

After all, there are countries that have understood that this is pretty unfair for women – and are now even paying for them! In Spain, in 2023, a court awarded a woman a whopping 200,000 euros after a divorce – for taking on housework and children for her husband for 25 years. That’s still not much on an annual basis, but the ruling that women should be paid for their care work is pretty revolutionary. In Argentina, a woman was awarded 160,000 euros by her ex-partner in 2019 because the 29-year-old gave up her job as an economist to take care of the house and family while married. And in Austria, the Supreme Court decided in mid-2023 that after divorces, the couple’s joint assets may not necessarily be divided 50/50, but – if the woman has given up her job for the benefit of the family – can be divided 60:40. And in favor of the woman.

It is these developments that make paying for care work no longer sound so utopian and actually give hope for the future.


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