Study of stress in the household – More and more women at the limit of their strength

Some things seem to never change – or only very, very slowly …

In the corona pandemic, women continue to shoulder the largest share of household and family work. The Bertelsmann Foundation reported on Thursday in Gütersloh, citing a survey commissioned by it, that additional tasks, such as homeschooling and childcare, were mainly distributed according to the classic role models of men and women. 69 percent of women said that they mostly do the housework themselves.

In contrast, only eleven percent of the men surveyed claimed this for themselves. A similar picture emerged when looking at additional areas that were particularly relevant during the corona crisis, such as distance learning for children in their own four walls. For example, 51 percent of women said that their priority was to take care of it. According to their own statements, it was only 15 percent of the men.

According to the Foundation, this is also accompanied by a noticeable discrepancy in the perception of the different loads. For example, 66 percent of men are of the opinion that housework and childcare are fairly shared with them. This applies even though, according to their own answers to the survey, the men are aware that many tasks are predominantly taken over by their partners. Among women, not even half saw the distribution as fair.

At the same time, almost half of the women felt that the corona crisis had pushed them to their individual limits. 49 percent said their psychological, emotional or physical buffers were exhausted. For men, however, it was only 30 percent. 43 percent of women also stated that it is currently more difficult for them to combine work and family than at normal times.

“Against this background, both women and men should deal with their private and professional roles,” explained Bertelsmann expert Barbara von Würzen. They should address and negotiate the division of responsibilities in the family, taking into account the needs and stresses of both parties. There should also be much broader discussions about these topics in society and in organizations.

However, the Foundation’s experts did not assume that the pandemic would strengthen the trend. The survey also shows that half of the women were of the opinion that housework had already been unevenly distributed before the corona crisis. In this respect, the survey seems to show less evidence of a “relapse” than to clarify the fact that traditional role models in Germany have so far hardly been “broken up”.

The information was based on an online survey by the Ipsos Institute on behalf of the Bertelsmann Foundation. For this purpose, 1,060 men and women were surveyed in May; the results were representative.


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