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Few German women work full-time

Hardy Graupner
May 28, 2013

Population researchers have found that the percentage of German working-age women pursuing full-time jobs has been stagnating well below the EU average. There are different ways to explain this phenomenon.

Working mom with kid in her arms
Image: Fotolia/easyshooting.de

In a report published on its website on Tuesday, the German Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB) said that a markedly lower percentage of German women between the ages of 25 and 59 had full-time jobs compared to their peers in many other European Union member states.

The study said only 41 percent of female Germans in that age bracket worked full-time, while the EU average currently stood at 48 percent.

The institute noted that eastern European women led with a full-time employment rate of 70 percent. Lower rates than Germany's were only found in Italy, Malta and the Netherlands.

How come?

The report maintained that the overall employment situation of German women had been improving drastically since 2002, but had had little impact on their rate of full-time employment.

"The full-time job percentage has gone up by just 1 percent over the past decade, while there's been a 7-percent rise in part-time employment among German women over the same period," BiB researcher Harun Sulak said in a statement.

The institute offered several explanations for this development. On the one hand, it cited the low social acceptance of working mothers in Germany and insufficient opportunities to combine working and family lives as well as a lack of all-day care centers for children.

The need to supplement household income might also influence their desire to work. According to the report, many of the women surveyed had partners with sufficient earnings to support a family.

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