Forschung Gender und Gleichstellung

WSI: Key research topics: 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

Selected Publications

Hamjediers, Maik / Peters, Eileen : Switches from gender-atypical towards more gender-typical positions

Research on sex segregation in the labor market has repeatedly found that women and men are more likely to exit from occupations and firms in which they are the numerical minority and subsequently seek positions that are more represented by their gender. Data from the German social security insurance system show, however, that gender compositions of occupations and firms jointly shape attrition from gender-atypical positions, which ultimately perpetuates labor market segregation.

Cover Journal European Societies

Human Relations, online advance publication : labor market re-entry after childbirth: facilitated by flextime?

How do national-level work–life balance policies shape the role of flextime in maternal labor market re-entry after childbirth? Yvonne Lott (WSI) analyzes whether mothers’ and partners’ flextime facilitates maternal labor market re-entry after childbirth in Germany, where family policy reforms have been implemented in the last two decades. The analysis indicates that generous national-level work–life balance policies can diminish the effectiveness of organizational work–life balance policies for mothers’ employment behavior.

WSI Working Paper 211, 11/2019 : Reasons for not working from home in an ideal worker culture

The study investigates workers' reasons for not working from home in German workplaces. Yvonne Lott (WSI) and Anja Abendroth (University Bielefeld) ask to what degree cultural barriers, besides technical barriers, are reasons for not working from home. Regression analyses using LPP data show that women - independent of their status positions - are more likely not to work from home due to perceived cultural barriers.

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.