Gender in Germany

This elaboration is not a guarantee of completeness. Moreover, the terms Black and White are to be understood as socio-political and are therefore capitalized in the text.

Gender equality not yet achieved in Germany

According to the Gender Equality Index of the “European Institute for Gender Equality,” gender equality in the EU countries as a whole increased by only 5.4 points on a scale of 1 to 100 between 2005 and 2019 to now 68 points. Equality in Germany increased by 6.9 points on this scale to now 68.6 points.

Third gender option

Germany is one of the few countries in the world that recognize the gender option “diverse” in addition to “female” and “male”. The ID card then does not say m or w, but x. However, it remains legally unclear whether the option can refer to a non-binary gender identity regardless of biological conditions. People who identify as non-binary are therefore not yet sufficiently taken into account.

Girls and women are well educated

Even if gender equality has by no means been achieved, at least the disadvantages according to gender are less clear-cut than they were 20 years ago. Girls and women have benefited from the general expansion of education in Germany over the past two decades. Today, 57% of them graduate from high school and are thus entitled to study at university. The proportion is around three percentage points higher than for boys and men of the same age. For years, girls have been less likely to leave school without a diploma than boys.

Gender Pay Gap

Despite a good education, the average gross hourly wage of female employees in Germany is 18 percent lower than that of men. The differences can be explained in part by the increased part-time employment of women or the different distribution across industries and occupations. However, there is also the adjusted gender pay gap of six percent.

In general, the gender pay gap is significantly larger in the western states than in the eastern states. In eastern Germany, the unadjusted gender pay gap was significantly smaller at six percent than in western Germany at 19 percent. The regional differences can be explained, among other things, by the role of women in the former GDR. Gainful employment of women and mothers was the norm in the GDR, in contrast to the former FRG.

Women do more care work

Care work describes socially necessary work, such as raising and caring for children or caring for elderly or sick people. Care work often receives little recognition in Germany and is still predominantly performed by women. According to the German government’s Second Report on Gender Equality, women perform a good 50 percent more unpaid care work than men. On average, women spend 87 minutes more each day on household chores, for example.

March 8, feminist struggle day, is a holiday in Berlin. Thousands demonstrate for gender justice and against sexism


Inequality is often reinforced by the interweaving with other categories and attributions, such as social class, origin, ethnicity, age or faith. When different social categories influence each other, we speak of “intersectionality.” For example, Black women are more affected by inequalities than White women.

It is also assumed that women with a migration background are particularly at risk of poverty. In Germany, women are generally more vulnerable to poverty than men. Persons with a migration background are more than twice as likely to be affected by poverty. However, the entanglement of the category gender with other relevant structural categories has hardly been researched so far.


Unfortunately, there are political and social forces in Germany that see gender equality as problematic. Anti-feminists, representatives of the extreme right, the AfD and Pegida, men’s rights groups and ultra-religious groups want to reverse the developments of recent years. Politicians and activists sometimes face massive hostility. Right-wing populist parties that clearly distance themselves from equality goals are gaining ground.

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