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Research area

Gender research

The focus of WSI gender studies is on the job inequality of men and women and ways to overcome it. In particular, research Is concerned with gender-specific differences in the labour market and in firms, in terms of income and working hours, but also with correlations between gender arrangements beyond the male breadwinner model and changes in the world of work and social security.

Gender-specific inequalities are closely associated with the divided perception of socially necessary work as (recognised) gainful employment, on the one hand, and (hardly recognised) care work on the other. The social organisation of work is looked at in its impact on gender relations. The life course approach enables the research to consider overlaps and (recurring) transitions between phases of gainful employment and care work as well as the protection of the different phases and transitions, and in doing so to draw attention to the need to reform equality policy.

Main research topics

social inequality of men and women over the life course - gender inequality at work - gender pay gap, working time gap - trends in paid employment and unpaid care work - household income relations and division of household tasks

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WSI Gender Database

The Gender Database provides comprehensive data and over 200 graphs on gender-related inequality with brief analyses, tables, methodical pointers and explanations of termsTopics include gainful employment, unemployment, working hours, inequality of pay and managerial positions as well as many other issues. more... (in German language)

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AZOLA Life Course-Oriented Working Time Options

The project seeks to identify conditions that foster the implementation of life course-oriented working-time arrangements (e.g. part-time, parental leave) at the workplace, and determinants of their use among employees. Case studies in German firms will be complemented by expert reports on the situation in five European countries.
more... (pdf)



WSI Working Paper 204

Ideal workers and ideal parents

The study examines the extent to which the use of part-time work and parental leave is accepted in German workplaces. Interviews with 95 employees and 26 experts in hospitals, police stations and industrial companies indicate that working-time norms not only vary according to gender, but to position and profession. Staffing issues and the behavior of management personnel are decisive for acceptance, and thus for the work behavior of employees.

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Social Policy and Society

When My Money Becomes Our Money: Changes in Couples’ Money Management

Conservative welfare state policies as in Germany often presume that money is a common resource within couples and, therefore, pooled. Research, however, indicates that money is increasingly managed separately. Using SOEP-panel data, Dr. Yonne Lott (WSI) shows that marriage leads to joint pooling or partly independent money management. An increase in women’s incomes, however, is associated with independent money management. Women’s wish for independence contributes to the decline of the joint pool.

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Social Europe online

The Need For A Gender Perspective On Digitalization

Digitalization, i.e. flexible work in space and time, will not automatically foster employees’ work-life balance, as is often proclaimed. Yvonne Lott (WSI) agues that flexible working has different impacts on women’s and men’s lives and risks aggravating traditional gender arrangements: With flexible working time, men often invest more time in work. Women, by contrast, use their time flexibility more for activities and duties outside work.

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Gender inequality at the workplace

Costs and Benefits of Flexibility and Autonomy in Working Time

Dr. Yvonne Lott (WSI) investigates the relations between women's and men's flexibility and autonomy in working time and two central work outcomes: overtime and income. Findings point to gendered costs and benefits of working time flexibility and autonomy: Flexible working time and working time autonomy are associated with an increase of overtime and income - but only for men. Women in fulltime positions who also increase their time investment with working time autonomy and employee-oriented flexibility to a similar extent, do not receive similar financial rewards.

WSI Discussion Paper No. 196 (pdf)

New WSI Discussion Paper

Working time flexibility and autonomy: Facilitating time adequacy? A European perspective

Dr. Yvonne Lott (WSI) examines the effect of working time flexibility and autonomy on time adequacy using EWCS data from 2010. Drawing on gender theory and welfare state theory, gender differences and the institutional contexts of the UK, Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands are taken into account. The study reveals that working time flexibility and autonomy are positively related to time adequacy for women. Men, however, tend to experience overtime and work intensification. In the Netherlands, employees profit most from working time autonomy.

WSI Discussion Paper 190 (pdf)

New WSI Discussion Paper

Working Time Autonomy and Time Adequacy. What if performance is all that counts?

To be able to combine work with activities and duties outside the workplace successfully, employees need time adequacy, i.e. an appropriate fit between working time and all other time demands. Time adequacy can be achieved through working time flexibility and autonomy. Dr. Yvonne Lott (WSI) shows that working time flexibility and autonomy, as well as self-directed teamwork, are positively associated with time adequacy. However, performance-related pay undermines the positive effect of working time autonomy.

WSI Discussion Paper 188 (pdf)

Caregiving and paid work in Germany

Keck, Wolfgang, Christina Klenner, Sabina Neukrich and Chiara Saraceno (2013): Caregiving and paid work in Germany. In: Blanche Le Bihan et al. (eds.), Work and Care under Pressure. Amsterdam University Press, 79-100. more...

Pairfam Conference, Munich 09.-10.10.2013

Childbirth and changes in the distribution of resources and housework: Is couples' power allocation affected?

Analysing longitudinal data from the German Family Panel Survey pairfam, Dr. Yvonne Lott (WSI) shows that changes in the allocation of resources or in the division of housework do not have an impact on partners‘ perception of the other‘s power. Women, however, perceive their partner to have less influence when a child is born - whereas men‘s perception of their partners‘ power is not changed through childbirth.
more ...(pdf)

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Gender and migration on the labour market

Fleischmann, Fenella, and Jutta Höhne, 2013: Gender and migration on the labour market: Additive or interacting disadvantages in Germany? Social Science Research 42(5): 1325-1345. more...

The Role of Gender, Resources, and Transitions for Power within Couples

Lott, Yvonne, 2012: Who Has It and Who Gets It? The Role of Gender, Resources, and Transitions for Power within Couples. Bremen: University of Bremen.

full text (pdf)

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Welfare states and gender inequality in Central and Eastern Europe

The book edited by Christina Klenner and Simone Leiber (WSI) focuses on developments in the ten Central and Eastern European EU member states: How far are welfare states and gender regimes in these countries comparable to those in Western and Southern Europe? To what extent were traditional institutions and practices preserved? How have gender relations been affected by EU accession and welfare state change through the transformation process? more...



For more information on projects and publications, please visit the German webpage of the research area.

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