Geist, Claudia (2009). One Germany, Two Worlds of Housework? Examining Employed Single and Partnered Women in the Decade after Unification. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 40(3)
, 415-437. PMCID: PMC2891262
Do the different ideological legacies of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) and the former German Democratic Republic (GDR) result in persisting differences in women's housework in the unified Germany? In this paper, I examine the housework of employed German women, singles and as well as women with partners, in the decade after unification using data from the German Socioeconomic Panel (GSOEP). This comparison allows me to assess the role of regional differences in shaping women's housework, while further distinguishing between full-time and part-time workers. The study shows that women with partners do more housework than single women do, regardless of region of residence. Among singles, there are no East-West differences in either the level of housework or the mechanisms that shape it. However, among women with partners, West German women do significantly more housework. These differences are only in part explained by differential participation in full-time and part-time employment. East German women's individual earnings are less effective than West Germans' in reducing housework for both full-time and part-time workers. Overall, the results of the study imply that the different ideological legacies FRG and the GDR do have a lasting impact on the housework of partnered women through family roles, while singles do not seem to be affected by any remaining differences in the socio-political context.
Journal of Comparative Family Studies