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Children, household & Co: How a fairer distribution of unpaid work works
Children, household & Co: How a fairer distribution of unpaid work works

Raising children, caring for relatives, household: will ALWAYS be carried out mainly by women in 2020. Other countries are already showing how this could be done better!

Equal Care Day: How a fairer distribution of unpaid work can work
Equal Care Day: How a fairer distribution of unpaid work can work

On February 29th was the so-called Equal Care Day, a day of action to draw attention to the lack of appreciation and unfair distribution of unpaid care work (such as household and child-rearing). It is no coincidence that this day falls on February 29, of all places, because in fact this important topic only receives the necessary media attention at most every four years.

More than 20 years after the introduction of the so-called half-half principle, we in Austria are still light years away from a fair distribution of paid employment and unpaid welfare work.

Since 01.01.2000 the law provides that the spouses should organize their marital partnership, especially the housekeeping, the employment and the bringing up of the children with consideration of each other and the well-being of the children "with the aim of a full balance of their contributions". Although the social distribution of roles has changed in the meantime and traditional housewife marriages have become significantly less common, reality still lags far behind this claim.

Still today: He works full-time, she works part-time and takes care of the children and the home

In most families, the “amicable” way of living together is such that the man works full-time, while the woman works part-time and mainly takes care of the household and childcare.

The consequences: old-age poverty is female

This is associated with considerable income and pension losses, which after a divorce regularly lead to the women concerned ending up in the poverty trap.

Dad month? As the name suggests: only 1 month

Because dad's month is also just a month and not a year. And just as before, every fifth father in Austria takes parental leave, and that usually only for two months. For a social rethinking, much more far-reaching measures and stronger incentives are needed.

Other countries are showing the way

Apart from a nationwide childcare offer and a mandatory pension splitting, a fundamental reform of the parental leave model would be necessary. Long parental leave periods with low parental leave allowances are unfortunately a huge brake on your career. 14 well-paid months of parental leave would make sense, half of which (with the exception of single parents) are reserved for the fathers.

Other countries show that such a model works. And here it is above all the Nordic countries that are setting a good example. In Iceland, for example, more than 90% of men take parental leave without feeling offended in their male pride.


More articles from attorney Carmen Thornton

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