Over the last two to three decades, European welfare states have witnessed fundamental changes in both family and labour market structures with many more women being in the paid labour market. While this was seen to address previous problems linked to women’s disadvantage, it has also been argued to give rise to new risk and social inequalities, including falling fertility rates and increasing childlessness. Research has identified the lack of affordable childcare as a key factor in childlessness leading to a strong EU focus on early childhood education and care. Since 2000, the EU has played a more proactive role in policies and initiatives aimed to address decreasing fertility rates with greater pressure for convergence among member states. However, there has continued to be a large degree of variation between countries. This chapter thus examines the case of Germany which has one of the highest levels of childlessness in Europe. It focuses on the intersection between childlessness and childcare provision in Germany and analyses the existing childcare arrangements with a view to understand how they influence childlessness. Particular attention is given to the role of the German government as the main actor in the process to explore ideology-related explanations of German policy-makers which led to contradictory policies. Relying on an extensive review of the related literature and policy documents, together with the personal interviews with policy-makers, academics and women’s organisations, this chapter concludes that the relatively conservative outlook of the German government which prioritises the motherhood and caregiver role, and the dominance of the corporate welfare system, has limited developments to improve access to childcare resulting in ‘a culture of childlessness’ in Germany (Kreyenfeld & Konietzka, 2017).
The author would like to thank Prof. Ann Marie Gray and Dr. Markus Ketola for their helpful comments and suggestions.
Kazanoglu, N. (2018), "The Effects of Childcare Arrangements on Childlessness in Germany", Sappleton, N. (Ed.) Voluntary and Involuntary Childlessness (Emerald Studies in Reproduction, Culture and Society), Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 355-377. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-78754-361-420181017Download as .RIS
Emerald Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2018 Natalie Sappleton