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Working Mothers in Germany

Chapter 6 titled “Working Mothers in Germany” discusses work and family challenges faced by female professionals in German. The article presents an informal discussion that takes place in a restaurant and involving Carlotta and a group of her friends from college, namely Lily, Friede, Liz, and Karin. Carlotta works as an executive and has a two-year-old daughter. Of late, she has been facing challenges coping with the child-care. Although she takes her to the daycare center each morning, she has to ensure that she is picked up at exactly 5.00 in the evening, the time at which the facility shuts down. This causes her a lot of inconveniences because, being an executive, it is hard to leave work early.Working Mothers in Germany

It emerges that the other women including Lily feel that raising a child is a potential killer of carriers of women in Germany. According to her, four out of every ten female graduates aged between 30 and 35 are still childless because they want to pursue their careers. Their conversation touches differences in culture between former Eastern and Western sectors of Germany as they discuss the issue of childcare centers. When former East Germany existed, men and women that lived there were expected to work. This led to the development of a high number of child-care facilities during that period. In the West, women that bore children were encouraged to stay at home and take care of the young ones at least in their first few years. This variation in the culture created a trend that has persisted until today in the country. In eastern parts, 36 out of every 100 children below three years go to daycare. In the West, only 2.7% of all children have a spot in daycare facilities.

According to their conversation, Germany is exceptional given the high number of couples without children and the high number of women that are highly qualified professionals. At the same time, the country’s maternity and paternity leave policies seem favorable when a comparison is made with those of other countries. Parents that have little ones are entitled to a combined three years of leave within a child’s first 8 years. They are also entitled to a full salary for the whole of the past two years. It then emerges that the leave is what motivates women to pursue their careers at full speed without taking off to raise a child. Some of the women that stay at home taking care of their children end up losing the job they used to handle before. Others risk being fired. The general feeling among women is that the three-years off makes them lose their professional ground. As Carlotta explains, the majority of female graduates are childless because of the pursuit of the career ladder. They fear that they will end up starting at the bottom again if they step off this ladder to raise a child, before returning again.Working Mothers in Germany

Apart from child care, women have faced challenges working in an environment where companies will award top jobs to males because of traits such as aggressiveness. The article highlights that the business culture in Germany is still influenced by traditional attitudes. The majority of companies are not willing to hire highly qualified young women who have the potential to become top executives based on the assumption that they will not stick with their job. Although Carlotta’s friends give her varied pieces of advice such as getting a nanny, stepping down to a less involving job or looking for a job in a different and more accommodating company, she decides to continue with her current employment given that the company offers her strong prospects in future. She hopes that as her daughter grows up and enters kindergarten, things will improve.Working Mothers in Germany