Study: How many hours of care work do women between 30 and 40 a day

How many hours of care work women do – and how few men

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While the gender pay gap is 18 percent, the gender care gap in certain age groups is very different, as a study shows.

While the gender pay gap, i.e. the wage gap between the sexes, has been highlighted in the media from many sides, the gender care gap is more of a side note. The difference in how many hours women spend on care work per week compared to men could hardly be greater, as a study of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) recently discovered.

In certain age groups, the gender care gap is 170 percent

On average, the gender care gap – i.e. the difference in unpaid care work within the household between men and women – is a good 50 percent in the German population as a whole. This means that women do on average around one and a half times as much unpaid care work as men. With this result, Germany is according to one study in the middle part of the countries.

In the age range between 20 and 24 years, the gender care gap between men and women is still comparatively small: Men spend about two hours a day on care work, for women it is between two and four hours of daily work, i.e. a gap of about 25 percent. However, over time, the gap widens exponentially: The gender care gap increases to 106 percent among 35 to 39 year olds. In other words, a woman who is subject to social security contributions spends more than twice as much time per week on unpaid care work as men.

If the gender care cap is considered independently of the employment relationship, it is even higher according to figures from the DIW: women in the 34-year-old group spend an average of almost nine hours a day on unpaid care work. On the other hand, men work around three hours a day – which corresponds to a gender care gap of 170 percent.

The years between the ages of 30 and 40 are the decisive ones in the labor market

“The almost parallel development of the gender pay gap and the gender care gap between the ages of early 20s and mid-40s suggests that starting a family represents a critical turning point for the course of the employment careers of women and men,” summarizes the DIW the results of the study together. Although the gender care gap decreases again from the age of 40, as the figures show, the damage to the woman’s financial situation has been doneas scientist Clara Schäper describes it in an interview with the DIW: “Although inequality in care work is leveling out again, there is a long-term effect on the unequal distribution of wages.”

As the study states and Ms Schäper confirms in the interview, the years between 30 and 40 are the “decisive” years on the job market. “If women spend much less time in the labor market during these years, this will have a long-term impact on their employment biographies and earning potential,” says the scientist. A more equal distribution of unpaid care work would also reduce the gender pay gap, the researcher explains.

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