The study also states that women who continue to work after the birth of their child often experience discrimination from society. So women are under pressure to have children and are then supposed to take parental leave – but the work that is done on the side to take care of the children and the family is not valued equally. UN Women demands that the framework conditions of politics and companies should be changed in such a way that all parents can look after the children equally. Both childcare and flexible working models are particularly important for gender equality.
gender care gap
We know them gender pay gap. But what is perhaps less well known is gender care gap: According to klischeesc eV. 80 percent of the care work, i.e. welfare work, is done by women in Germany – this is about the professional, voluntary and also the private sector. This imbalance means that women have less energy and time to pursue careers, engage in community activities, or have leisure time.
An important term is the “mental load” – i.e. the invisible burden and responsibility that arises when women coordinate a household and their family. This includes: keeping in touch with family members and friends, remembering birthdays and important dates, coordinating calls and appointments, etc. This division of tasks is directly related to the patriarchal structures that reduce women to domestic work.
At the same time, however, there is a lack of appreciation for the care work and the mental load: Because cooking, cleaning, tidying up, making appointments, washing and caring for mothers are taken for granted – although this opens up a major imbalance in other areas such as leisure time and career. And when mothers neglect this care work and want to pursue a career, they often experience discrimination from companies and society. How to tackle this problem? By rethinking old role clichés.
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Structural discrimination of sexual and reproductive self-determination
In addition, women continue to be structurally discriminated against in their sexual and reproductive self-determination by politics and society. In the USA, the guarantee of legal abortions was abolished in 2022 and abortions are still criminalized in Germany and are dismissed as a taboo subject in society. Although the abolition of paragraph 219a makes it easier to obtain information, Germany is still a long way from nationwide, safe access to abortions. Difficult access to contraceptives is also a problem worldwide that restricts women’s sexual and reproductive self-determination.
Breaking out of outdated role models is made more difficult
Ever from right of descent heard? When a person gives birth to a child, that person is the “mother”, the other person can only be the “father”. If two women start a family, one of them is only the stepmother of the child and has to adopt it. The same goes for other rainbow families, of course. We often see similar outdated role models in advertising, for example through gender-specific advertising for children’s toys (which, by the way, has now been banned in Spain!). A feminist education wants to move away from the rigid boundaries of blue and pink, but to do that, something has to change in the media that children are exposed to.
Domestic violence still commonplace
At the Mother’s Day We don’t want to think about it, but it’s still a reality: Domestic violence is part of everyday life for many women – a fact that has only increased since the Corona pandemic. According to statistics from the SRD, every third woman has experienced domestic violence at least once in her life – apart from unreported cases. Women’s shelters are overcrowded and mothers with young children are in an even more dangerous situation.
This is our #Mother’s Day wish
“UN Women” makes with their action #Mother’s Day wish attention to these shortcomings. What do mothers and what do children wish for their parents and women around them on feminist Mother’s Day? How do we get more equality and self-determination? The wishes that women express on this day are of a wide variety of nature and very personal: more men who do care work. No more outside pressure to have children. All gender identities should be recognized. Not afraid to live in poverty as a single mother.