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Not Having it All

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Many women worrry about combining work and children harmoniously in their lives.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Low birthrates and a lack of skilled workers are threatening Germany’s economic future. Women are choosing between career and family but few are venturing both.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • The smaller the company a mother works in, the smaller the chances of flexible working hours and a childfriendly environment at work.
    • Economists keep warning that an aging population poses a serious threat to Germany’s future prosperity.
    • Despite repeated government programs, incentives and subsidies to persuade young women and couples to have more children, birth rates have remained low since the 1970s.
  • Audio

    Audio

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By any measure, Germany should be the perfect country in Europe to have kids and raise a family. Laws guarantee most working mothers two-thirds of their salaries for a year, pay them monthly support once a child is born and provide low-cost daycare.

Still, despite a concerted effort to convince Germans to have more children, Germany has one of the lowest birth rates in the European Union and in the world.

Economists warn that an aging population threatens Germany’s future prosperity. “That beautiful life we have will turn into desperation in 15 years,” wrote Hans-Werner Sinn, the president of the Ifo Institute for Economic Research, one of the country’s leading economic research institutes, in WirtschaftsWoche.

The reason for more than one in five women in Germany deciding not to have children can be traced to a lack of available day care, but also to the fear of not being able to  combine work and children harmoniously in their lives.

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