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Child and Youth Services in Germany

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Structural framework > Society

Gender differences affecting life circumstances

Despite striving for equality, inequality between the genders is still widely experienced in Germany:

  • income, gender pay gap: in 2022 women earned on average 18% per hour less than men;
  • significant gender disparity in paid and unpaid care work;
  • poverty risk for single parents: 2.15 million women and 462,000 men are single parents;
  • experiences of violence/sexual abuse/domestic violence: 80% affects women/young girls, 20% affects men/young boys. Incidences of violence against the LGBTIQ+ community have doubled since 2013;
  • vulnerable living situations, houselessness, people living in shelters: young girls/young women make up between half and the majority.


Despite (ostensible) efforts to establish equal opportunities and equality in Germany, gender remains a key determinant of structural disparity. Most experiences of gender-related inequality intersect with other aspects, such as race, class, identity, etc. Huge differences exist in the daily lives of people across the entire spectrum of gender identities (in 2018 Germany brought in the option to choose a "third gender" option for legal records).

On average, women earn 18% per hour less than men. The difference is greater in western Germany and Berlin (20%) than in eastern Germany (7%). At 7%, the gender pay gap in the public sector is significantly lower than in the private sector (21%). The extent of gainful employment also differs substantially: 94% of men are employed full-time compared with 34% of women. Women make up two-thirds of those in mini jobs.

Jobs in the care sector are also split unequally across the genders: 34% of all female workers are employed in the social services field. Women make up 96% of all child day-care workers, 90% of primary school workers, 87% of workers in the private care sector and 75% of the cleaning sector. 34% of all female workers are employed in the social services field, compared with 8% of all male workers. Despite the introduction of the Girls' Day and Boys' Day events to combat gender stereotyping, career choices are still tainted by gender bias. Unpaid care work (caring for family members, volunteer work etc.) is also predominantly performed by women. As a result, women spend long periods of time outside of the labour market with a concomitant impact on unemployment structures: on average, women spend twice as long without gainful employment as men do. Long-term unemployment affects more women than men.

Frau mit Kind macht bunte Seifenblasen / Woman with child making colourful soap bubbles

Divorced women, single mothers and "single" women are especially at risk of poverty. Women make up 2.15 million of Germany's single-parent households, compared with 462,000 men.

A clear gender bias is also evident in the share of all gainfully employed parents on parental leave with the youngest child under the age of 3: 42.2% are women and 2.6% men.

80% of experiences of domestic violence or sexual abuse affect women and young girls compared with 20% men and young boys. Incidences of violence against the LGBTIQ+ community (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/transsexual, intersex and queer/questioning) doubled between 2013 and 2020.

For individuals in living in vulnerable situations, figures can only be estimated: women account for almost 30% of houseless adults. Girls/young women make up a disproportionately high number of houseless under-18s.

The powerful interpretive paradigms and stereotypes in the perception of gender also give rise to phenomena in child and youth services resulting in certain disadvantages, e.g., young girls receive socio-educational support later than young boys.

Article 9 (3) of Book 8 of the Social Code (SGB VIII) addresses equal opportunities for young girls and boys and the need to consider gender-specific factors. It calls for: consideration of the different life circumstances young girls and boys and young transgender, non-binary and intersex people, the removal of barriers to participation, and the promotion of equal opportunities for young girls and boys.

The federal government will curate official statistics in its Gender Equality Report.

With the introduction in 2015 of the 2030 Agenda in New York, the international community agreed on the first-ever comprehensive gender equality goal as one of 17 global Sustainable Development Goals. In parallel, gender equality is anchored as a common thread running through the 2030 Agenda.

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