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German Microdata Lab

Time Use of children and adolescent

Gender-specific Differences in time use of Girls and Boys regarding domestic work

Researcher: Dr. Heike Wirth
Departement: Monitoring Society and Social Change, German Microdata Lab


Depending on their area of life, adults show gender-specific differences in their use of time. The division of labor between partners regarding domestic work and gainful work is a case in point. Although the time spent by women on domestic work has declined over recent decades and the amount of time spent by men on domestic work has increased slightly, there appears to have been little change in the gender-specific division of labor. Apart from the fact that specialization can be quite efficient, the continuing gender-specific division of work is seen as the result of negotiation and specialization processes between the partners, particularly in the context of family formation. Differences in the economic and non-economic resources of men and women are assumed as underlying mechanisms which come along with better or less favorable negotiating positions. Other mechanisms are the influence of social norms on gender roles and gender identities.

The focus of our study is on gender differences in children aged 10 to 17 years regarding time spent with domestic work. In contrast to adult couples, economic and non-economic resources, as well as negotiation processes (e.g. between parents and children), should have no impact on gender-specific differences in time use of children and adolescents. However one could assume that the division of labor between father and mother or the time parents spend with domestic work, and also negotiation processes between siblings might influence the time spent by boys and girls with domestic work.

Based on the German time use study 2012/13 our findings up to now are:  (1) Girls spend more time with housework than boys. This gender-specific difference increases in the transition from childhood to youth. (2) These differences remain under the control of other activities. (3) It is not so much the time constraints of the parents as a result of gainful employment, which influence the children's working hours. Rather, parents' involvement in the household seems to be closely related to the children's contribution. (4) The household context (e.g. household size) seems to have different effects for boys and girls.


February 2016  – December 2017

Wirth, Heike (2017): Die Zeitverwendung von Kinder und Jugendlichen - Lernen am Modell? Geschlechtsspezifische Unterschiede in der Zeitverwendung für Haushaltstätigkeiten. In: Statistisches Bundesamt (Hg.): Wie die Zeit vergeht - Analysen zur Zeitverwendung in Deutschland: 117-134. Wiesbaden: Destatis. [pdf]


Wirth, Heike (2017): Geschlechtsspezifische Unterschiede in der Zeitverwendung von Jungen und Mädchen für Haushaltstätigkeiten. Konsumerhebung – Zeitverwendungserhebung – EU-SILC Nutzerinnen- und Nutzerkonferenz 2017. Wien: Statistik Austria. [pdf]

Wirth, Heike (2016): Zeitverwendung von Kindern und Jugendlichen. Lernen am Modell? Geschlechtsspezifische Unterschiede im Umgang mit der Zeit. Ergebniskonferenz zur Zeitverwendungserhebung 2012/2013. 5.-6. Oktober 2016. Wiesbaden: Destatis. [.pdf]