Asking fathers and employers to volunteer: A (de)tour of reconciliation policy in Germany? Article

cited authors

  • Vogt, A; Zwingel, S

fiu authors


  • In Germany, up until recently, the combination of weak antidiscrimination laws and the rationale of family benefits had sustained the male breadwinner-female family caretaker model as the norm in social policy arrangements and gender relations. In the context of the unification of East and West Germany and the change in government to a left-wing coalition in the late 1990s, the biases of this deeply entrenched model have been significantly put into question. After providing a brief description of the German welfare state context, the article presents the development of reconciliation policies in two parts. First, the measures taken by the Christian Democrat/Liberal governments in the 1980s and 1990s are critically summarized. Second, we examine new steps taken by the Social Democrat/Green governments since 1998 and discuss the possible impact of the new approach on reconciliation policy. In this context, we also consider reconciliation policies at the firm level, an object of recent government attention. The article concludes with some further reflections on a gender-balanced future between work and family obligations in the German context.

publication date

  • September 1, 2003

start page

  • 459

end page

  • 478


  • 20


  • 3