• Germany's news in English

German women fear family's impact on career

Jörg Luyken · 15 Oct 2015, 12:31

Published: 14 Oct 2015 16:02 GMT+02:00
Updated: 15 Oct 2015 12:31 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The survey, carried out by the Thomas Reuters Foundation in the G20 (the 20 largest industrialized and developing economies in the world), shows that only 21 percent of German women thought having children would not damage their careers. 

Only Japan scored lower, with a paltry 17 percent of women saying they wouldn't be held back by having a family.

Globally the proportion of women who said they could manage career and family at once was 47 percent of the 9,500 respondents in the survey.

Thirty-seven percent of German women said they believed having children would harm their careers, while 46 conceded they think men have better access to the job market.

Additionally, only one in five believe they get the same wage for the same amount of work as men do.

DON'T MISS: German women earn 21.6 percent less than men

The results of the survey stands in contrast to Germany's strong level of female employment. At 72 percent, it is the second highest in the G20, second only to Canada.

Progress too slow

But the high level of female employment is misleading, Alexa Wolfstädter, expert in gender policy at trade union Verdi, told The Local.

"One must look more closely at the number of women in employment: only a little more than half are in full time work. The other half work part time or in mini-jobs."

Most women chose part time work because they have no other way of combining work and family, she explained.

"Either they don't have access to adequate daycare or the employer doesn't offer flexible working hours."

"Among highly qualified women, the majority put off having children to pursue their careers and then 40 percent decide not to have children at all," Wolfstädter said.

"This is especially true in west Germany, where it is clear that concerns over child care play a role."

The fact that this situation is improving at such a slow pace is what has led to the startling survey result, says Wolfstädter.

But she is optimistic that the situation will improve.

"In the future these values will develop in a positive direction, because the government has already passed a series of measures and is preparing others which head in this direction.

SEE ALSO: Women executive quota coming in 2016

Story continues below…

"Employers are also realizing that in light of the lack of specialized workers, it makes sense to offer more family-friendly work conditions.“

Career and kids most manageable in developing world

Perhaps surprisingly, the most positive answers to the question of family and career came from women in developing economies.

In Brazil 74 percent of women said they could combine family and career, followed by Indonesia and South Africa, both 63 percent affirmative.

In France and Britain, on the other hand, women were more pessimistic, with 34 and 18 percent respectively saying kids wouldn't damage their careers.

World Bank expert Henriette Kolb told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) that in developing countries women can rely more on the support of their relatives and that it is easier to hire domestic workers on low wages.

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Jörg Luyken (joerg.luyken@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Germans think they're fit, but they're really couch potatoes
Photo: DPA.

There's been an increase in the number of Germans who define themselves as "fit", but their lifestyle choices don't quite match this self-perception.

10 fascinating facts you never knew about German beer
Tennis coach Boris Becker and his wife Lilly at Oktoberfest 2016 in Munich. Photo: DPA

From malt and monks to Radlers and rivalries, the story of German beer is as rich and wonderful as its selection.

Intensive farming 'endangers a third of German species'
Photo: DPA

There are 32,000 species of animal, plant and mushroom life native to Germany. Due to intensive farming methods, one in every three of these is endangered, a new report shows.

German hospital uses therapy to 'treat' paedophiles
A poster from the campaigne "Don't offend", which offers therapy to paedophiles. The sign reads "Do you love kids more than you'd prefer? There's help." Photo: DB Scholz & Friends / DPA.

A unique German initiative is offering therapy to paedophiles to control their urges, with the aim of getting them help before they offend.

Minister: 'no tolerance' for clowns after chainsaw attack
Photo: DPA

Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière has called for a zero-tolerance approach to 'killer clowns' after a series of attacks culminating in two teenagers being chased by a clown wielding a chainsaw.

Baby who was auctioned on eBay taken away from father
Photo: DPA.

A German court ruled on Thursday that a man who put his one-month-old baby up for sale on the online auction platform eBay should only be allowed contact with the child under supervision.

Portugal's ruling party calls German minister 'pyromaniac'
Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble. Photo: DPA.

The head of Portugal's ruling Socialists called German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble a "pyromaniac" on Thursday after he criticized Lisbon for reversing course on austerity.

These are Germany's top ten universities
The new library of Freiburg University. Photo: Jörgens.mi / Wikimedia Commons

These are the best universities in all of Germany - at least according to one ranking.

Introducing Swabians - 'the Scots of Germany'
Photo: DPA

These Southern Germans have quite a reputation in the rest of the country.

Woman sues dentist over job rejection for headscarf
Photo: DPA

A dentist in Stuttgart is being taken to court by a woman whom he rejected for a job as his assistant on the basis that she wears a Muslim headscarf.

10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd