Gender Studies

The research area "Gender Studies"

The interdisciplinary research area "Gender Studies" was founded in December 2010; it is relevant to all of the research departments of DIW Berlin. The primary aim of gender studies is to integrate the economic, social, and cultural dimensions of gender into scientific analysis and to identify and understand existing structural gender differences within society. Furthermore, it explores the social mechanisms by which these differences are produced as well as reproduced. In doing so, gender research also addresses the question of how social and cultural structures interact to shape or constrain male and female behavior differently.

One example is the gendered division of labor. The traditional division of household labor assigns different responsibilities to women and men: women are responsible for unpaid housework and childcare, whereas men, as breadwinners, are largely exempt from these duties. Institutional arrangements support this family model. The division of labor within the household generates and reinforces clichés about typically "female" and "male" personal qualities and abilities. These clichés have different effects on men and women with regard to the female and male labor supply and labor demand, career opportunities, and wages.

In December 2013, the Gender Studies research area became part of the executive department at DIW Berlin. This made DIW Berlin the first economic institute in the Leibniz Association to grant gender studies overarching importance as part of its top level of management. The Gender Studies research area seeks to integrate gender research into the work of all of the research departments at DIW Berlin. As an interdisciplinary network, it will strengthen DIW Berlin's internal, regional, national, and international cooperation in the field of economics and gender research.


Germany: Even in two-income households, women who work full time are still doing considerably more housework than their male counterparts - and hardly any changes are in sight

SOEP special analysis for International Women's Day (March 8) reveals that the gender-based division of household labor persists – DIW Research Director Elke Holst calls for stronger, fairer division of unpaid work in the household among couples – a family working-time benefits model (Familienarbeitszeit) and daycare expansion would also support this development
For more information.


Women Executive Barometer 2016 - Economic Bulletin 3/2016

by Elke Holst, Anja Kirsch

Every year, DIW Berlin researches the proportion of women in executive and supervisory boards of German listed companies as well as banks and insurances companies. Please find the abstracts of the reports with access to the full text below.
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Abstract: Corporate Boards of Large Companies: More Momentum Needed for Gender Parity
Germany’s large corporations still have a long way to go before achieving balanced representation of men and women on their boards. At the end of 2015, the share of women on the executive boards of the top 200 companies in Germany was a good six percent, an increase of less than one percentage point over 2014. The share of women on the supervisory boards of these top 200 companies was almost 20 percent although growth there has slowed...Access Text | PDF, 390.3 KB

Abstract: Financial Sector: Share of Women on Corporate Boards Increases Slightly but Men Still Call the Shots
In 2015, the share of women in the top decision-making bodies of the financial sector increased once again but men remain in the overwhelming majority and thus continue to call the shots. At the end of 2015, women made up just under eight percent of executive board members of the 100 largest banks in Germany. The corresponding figure for the 59 largest insurance companies was a good nine percent. In both cases, this is less than a percentage point more than in 2014...Access Text | PDF, 354.77 KB

Higher Shares of Women on Corporate Boards Still a Long Way Off: Eight Questions to Elke Holst, Interview


Positive Effects of a Gender Quota - Economic Bulletin 40/2015

In 2016, a fixed gender quota will come into force in Germany, affecting the supervisory boards of listed companies that also have employee representation (full codetermination). By as early as September 30, 2015, however, all companies will be obliged to set a self-imposed target quota – even companies that meet just one of these criteria; i.e., either listed or subject to codetermination. A variety of concerns have been expressed about the implementation of this law, including fears that the quota will impair company performance and the quality of the talent pool, or the belief that it discriminates against men and stigmatizes women. The present article examines these key criticisms on the basis of research findings to date. In conclusion, the advantages of a gender quota should allay these concerns since, in the long term, it contributes to dismantling gender stereotypes and consequently also mitigates the negative impact these stereotypes have on the selection of the best candidates for senior management positions.

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Women Executive Barometer 2015 - Economic Bulletin 4/2015

by Elke Holst, Anja Kirsch

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Abstract: Executive Board and Supervisory Board Members in Germany’s Large Corporations Remain Predominantly Male 
The executive boards of large corporations in Germany continue to be in men’s hands: at the close of 2014, a good five percent of executive board members at the top 200 companies in Germany were women. This is equivalent to an increase of one percentage point over 2013, which is evidence of the rather sluggish development in this area...Access Text | PDF, 0.94 MB

Abstract: Financial Sector: Share of Women in Top Decision-Making Bodies Remains Low
At the end of 2014, women were no better represented on the top decision-making bodies of enterprises in the financial sector than the previous year. The share of women on the executive boards of the 100 largest banks and savings banks remained at an average of almost seven percent and on the executive boards of the 60 largest insurance companies at 8.5 percent. On supervisory boards, change was slow at best: Although the share of women in financial institutions was almost 18 percent and a good 17 percent among insurance companies, only decimal point increases could be observed...Access Text | PDF, 0.95 MB

Executive Boards of Large Companies Remain Male-Dominated Monocultures: Seven Questions to Elke Hols, Interview


Female Executive Barometer 2014 - Economic Bulletin 3/2014

by Elke Holst, Anja Kirsch

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Abstract: Women Still the Exception on Executive Boards of Germany’s Large Firms - Gradually Increasing Representation on Supervisory Board
The trend toward more women on the corporate boards of German companies continued in 2013, albeit on a small scale. The share of women on the supervisory boards of the 200 largest companies increased by more than two percentage points, and thus at a somewhat higher rate than in recent years, to just over 15 percent.The corresponding share of women on executive boards virtuallystagnated at a low level of just over four percent.These findingsare revealed in DIW Berlin's latest Female Executive Barometer... Access Text  | PDF, 288.54 KB

Abstract: Financial Sector: Upward Trend in Share of Women on Corporate Boards Progressing Only in Small Steps
Last year, more women were appointed to the executive boards of major financial institutions. The share of women on the executive boards of banks and savings banks at the end of 2013 was a good six percent, which represents an increase of almost two percentage points over the previous year. This increase is primarily attributable to changes at private financial institutions and cooperative banks. At the public banks, however, both the share of women on executive boards and changes over the previous year were below average... Access Text | PDF, 246.29 KB

"Public Companies Could Play a Pioneering Role" - Six Questions to Elke Holst, Interview


Women Still the Exception on Executive Boards of Germany’s Large Firms - Gradually Increasing Representation on Supervisory Boards

by Elke Holst, Anja Kirsch

Abstract:

The trend toward more women on the corporate boards of German companies continued in 2013, albeit on a small scale. The share of women on the supervisory boards of the 200 largest companies increased by more than two percentage points, and thus at a somewhat higher rate than in recent years, to just over 15 percent.The corresponding share of women on executive boards virtuallystagnated at a low level of just over four percent.These findingsare revealed in DIW Berlin's latest Female Executive Barometer....

 Access Full Text  | PDF, 288.54 KB


Financial Sector: Upward Trend in Share of Women on Corporate Boards Progressing Only in Small Steps

by Elke Holst, Anja Kirsch

Abstract:

Last year, more women were appointed to the executive boards of major financial institutions. The share of women on the executive boards of banks and savings banks at the end of 2013 was a good six percent, which represents an increase of almost two percentage points over the previous year. This increase is primarily attributable to changes at private financial institutions and cooperative banks. At the public banks, however, both the share of women on executive boards and changes over the previous year were below average. ...

 Access Full Text | PDF, 246.29 KB


"Public Companies Could Play a Pioneering Role" - Six Questions to Elke Holst

Interview | PDF, 181.91 KB