Old Wine in New Wineskins? About Market Reforms in Germany and its iImpact on Women


  • Clarissa Rudolph Faculty of Social Sciences, Regensburg University of Applied Sciences




In the mid 2000s, a fundamental labour market reform has been carried out in Germany. The so-called Hartz-reforms were supposed to implement the paradigms of “activation” and “individual responsibility”. It was also discussed, whether in this context the “adult worker model” and more gender equality in the labour market should and could be achieved. This article clarifies the reforms ambivalent impact on women: there is a stronger but only partial labour market inclusion predominantly into the low-wage sector. Women´s responsibility in private care remains unchanged. Besides, in both fields, gender equality is not only a matter of quantity but also of quality. In other words, it is not about work inclusion at any cost, but rather the circumstances for female employment must be critically analyzed. The labour market reforms have so far done little to oppose the gender specific structures of the labour market.

Keywords: Gender Equality, Labour Market Reforms, Gender Models, Low Wage Sector