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Identity, Dissatisfaction and Political Activity - The Experience of East German women since Unification

Doctoral Thesis / Dissertation 2002 321 Pages

Sociology - Political Sociology, Majorities, Minorities

Excerpt

Contents

Introduction

Chapter 1 Feminist ideology in East and West the potential for conflict
1.1 Introduction
1.2 Defining feminism and emancipation
1.3 Approaches to feminism in East and West
1.3.1 Marxist Feminism in the GDR
1.3.2 Conservatism, Liberal, Marxist and Radical Feminism in the p 17 Federal Republic
1.3.3 An evaluation of feminism in East and West
1.4 Feminist voices in East and West
1.4.1 East German disappointment and dissatisfaction
1.4.2 The western countervoice
1.4.3 The meeting of East and West
1.5 Conclusion

Chapter 2 Public policy and the realities of female emancipation in the GDR
2.1 Introduction – opinion and reality
2.2 Public policy and equality legislation
2.3 Realities of emancipation in East and West
2.3.1 Emancipation in education
2.3.2 Female employment
2.3.3 Political representation
2.3.4 Personal relationships, family life and the ‘Doppelbelastung’
2.3.5 An evaluation of realities
2.4. Conclusion

Chapter 3 East-German distinctiveness
3.1 Introduction
3.2 The influence of events since reunification on identity
3.3 The socialist legacy
3.3.1 Work as ‘selbstverständlich’ and emancipatory
3.3.2 East German women and the family
3.3.3 Awareness of ‘feminist’ issues
3.3.4 Attitudes towards the GDR and the Federal Republic
3.3.5 East German feminists
3.3.6 The younger generation
3.4 Conclusion

Chapter 4 Dissatisfaction with the Federal Republic
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Dissatisfaction with the position of women in the Federal Republic
4.2.1 Dissatisfaction with female unemployment and access to work
4.2.2 Rejection of the choice between a career and children
4.2.3 Dissatisfaction with the changing role, status and image of women
4.2.4 Dissatisfaction with patriarchal structures and discrimination
4.2.5 Dissatisfaction with their relationship with west German women
4.3 General dissatisfaction with the Federal Republic
4.3.1 Dissatisfaction with the market economy/consumerism
4.3.2 Dissatisfaction with democracy
4.3.3 General legitimacy
4.4 Conclusion

Chapter 5 Political activity and mobilisation
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Women’s groups in the GDR/Saxony Anhalt prior to unification
5.3 The rise and fall for the UFV
5.4 Women’s groups in Saxony Anhalt 10 years after unification
5.4.1 ‘Das Gleichstellungsamt’, Magdeburg
5.4.2 ‘Die Fraueninitiative’
5.4.3 ‚ROSA’ – ‚Arbeitsvermittlung für Frauen’
5.4.4 ‚Bürgerinitiative gegen das Kitagesetz’
5.4.5 ‚Arbeitsgemeinschaft Sozialistischer Frauen’
5.4.6. Communication Centres ‚Etgersleben’ and ‚Laura’, Staßfurt
5.4.7 Summary of case studies
5.5 Political activity and disempowerment
5.6 East German women’s achievements
5.7 Conclusion

Final summary and conclusions

Appendices
Appendix 1 - Interview structure/questionnaire
Appendix 2 - List of respondents interviewed
Appendix 3 - Transcript notes of selection of interviews

Introduction

The unification of Germany was generally welcomed in 1990 as the obvious solution to 40 years’ division of the German people. Yet two separate German states had grown up during this time, separated by ideology, by political, legal and economic structures and by different ways of life. As a result, the effective annexation of the GDR into the Federal Republic on unification unleashed an immense wave of change in the ‘new states’ which has had uncountable effects on the east German people. They have experienced the complete revision of all their laws, whether on taxation`, the welfare state or civil rights. They have witnessed the transfer of the Federal market economy, Federal political parties and the Federal education system. Many changes have undoubtedly been immensely positive, above all, the introduction of democratic freedoms. At the other extreme, however, many east Germans have experienced the collapse of the GDR economy personally via their own long-term unemployment and material insecurity.

This book investigates the integration of east German women into the new political, legal and economic system and the new political culture of the Federal Republic following German unification. East German women comprise a particularly significant group in this process of assimilation as they have been frequently singled out as those who have lost the most as a result of unification. It is now claimed that ‘even the most conservative press no longer dares to deny, what was initially dismissed as prophecies of doom by pessimists guarding their own interests, i.e. that amongst the losers of unification, women had lost twice as much’.[1] Accounts of this loss relate, above all, to the high level of female unemployment in the new states which has settled at around 20-25% for over a decade. Most significantly it has been higher than that of men, particularly in the first 6-7 years of unification when women comprised two thirds of the unemployed, primarily as a result of a patriarchal ‘one job per family’ philosophy.[2] East German women had previously been accustomed to a high level of employment, at around 90%[3] which had also resulted in financial independence and greater material security. The loss of work has left women either dependent on their husbands again or, as single mothers, the social group mostly likely to be reliant on social security and living around the poverty line.[4] An additional significant factor of perceived loss is the sharp decrease in state support for child-care provision, which is linked to further disadvantage for mothers on the job market.[5] Together these developments have been seen to limit the opportunities east German women had to easily combine a career and family which was the essence of their achievement in the GDR. For some the disappointments east German women have suffered are equal to ‘stepping back one hundred years’[6] and they reveal that they have distinctive expectations of the Federal Republic, which do not correspond to west German practice. This has been exemplified, in particular, by growing discord between east and west German women, and a perceived alienation between feminist ideologies in East and West, with the result that east German women have also become isolated from their natural allies.[7]

This book reflects on the unique nature of east German women’s identity as the losers of unification and draws out differences in values, beliefs and attitudes, particularly in relation to their position as women, which could be seen to define them as a singular social group in the new Federal Republic. It investigates the implications of any such ‘uniqueness’ in terms of their potential disappointment or dissatisfaction with the Federal Republic and examines whether dissatisfaction is being translated into political activity and developments in women’s politics in the new states. It is structured in accordance with these themes and examines the issues arising from them as follows:

Chapter 1 establishes a foundation for east German women’s status as a unique social group by comparing key aspects of feminist ideology in the Federal Republic and the GDR. It thus presents a pattern of potential socialisation in this area and locates any potential mismatch of values and opinions between east and west German women. It then reviews academic literature on east German women’s experiences since unification to examine evidence of a current conflict of ideas arising between east and west German women from both the standpoint of the academic commentator and the interviewee. Areas of conflict revealed in the publications are then measured against those predicted by socialisation patterns with a view to identifying links between the two and determining a broad outline of a distinctive east German ‘feminist identity’.

Chapter 2 further examines the feminist environment in each state in terms of both government intention, via the public policy relating to women, and the realities of everyday life. It thus presents some of the detail of the legislation passed and a range of statistics relating to women’s representation in the public sphere and the outcomes for the private sphere. This enables reflection on the level of support offered to women by the SED[8] and the Federal Government and on the real levels of change women were able to achieve in their lives. The comparative balance makes it possible to pinpoint potential areas of perceived loss in moving from one system to another.

Chapter 3 draws on oral history interviews to reflect on the existence of a unique identity amongst east German women. It focuses on connections between the current opinions, values and attitudes of women in the new states, the feminist ideology of Marxist Feminism and the personal experiences of life in the GDR. It also relates evidence of such links to a range of current theories on the socialisation of the east German people with regard to the existence of what is generally termed a ‘socialist legacy’ and the effects of unification itself on identity.

Chapter 4 draws again on oral history interviews with east German women to examine current levels of dissatisfaction regarding their situation since unification and to investigate whether dissatisfaction is greater amongst some social groups than others. In scrutinising the sources of dissatisfaction and the nature of unfulfilled expectations, there is also further reflection on the links to east German women’s distinctive values and opinions and further insight into a distinctive identity. The nature and level of dissatisfaction then suggests areas of potential resistance and political activity.

Chapter 5 reflects on the potential link between high levels of dissatisfaction and political mobilisation amongst east German women and examines their will as well as their ability to be politically active in analysing both past and current activities. It investigates, in particular, the claim that east German women remain disempowered as a result of the repressive nature of the GDR regime. It draws firstly on the ‘Sachakten’[9] of the GDR’s ‘Staatssicherheitsdient’ (known as the ‘Stasi’- State Security Service) in Saxony Anhalt to gain insight into the level and nature of political activity amongst women in the GDR and examines briefly the empowerment of the peaceful revolution. It then presents a number of case studies of women’s groups in Saxony Anhalt to record the current level and nature of east German women’s involvement in political and semi-political activities since unification and to examine East German women’s achievements in women’s politics to date. Finally, it reflects on the level of personal resistance to the status quo in the Federal Republic amongst east German women and whether there are signs of resignation and adaptation to the new circumstances.

CHAPTER 1 FEMINIST IDENTITY IN EAST AND WEST

1.1 Introduction

The relatively monolithic nature of the east German state provided a significant opportunity for state-driven socialisation. Within this framework the SED’s interpretation of Marxist Feminism became the principal determinant of the ethical environment within which east German women were to shape their own belief and value systems regarding women’s issues and emancipation.[10] Although the time frame of 40 years seems relatively short in socialisation terms it remains probable that the strong influence socialist ideology had on east German women’s lives in the GDR was transferred in some way to their values and opinions. It is, therefore, also probable that their views are likely to differ from those of west German women who did not experience the same ideological environment.

This chapter examines key features of feminist ideology in the Federal Republic and the GDR, focusing on the essential tenets of Marxist Feminism and the dominant feminist movements in the West in order to highlight areas of potential difference between the feminist environments in the two states. It then measures these against the voices of east and west German women in academic publications since reunification with a view to highlighting areas where opinion and values differ. Where difference is established, potential links to the socialising influences in each state will be assessed. This approach enables east German women to be viewed from a variety of angles. Firstly, they are perceived pre-unification, through the lens of their socialisation as women in the distinctive environment of the GDR, and secondly post-unification, as they appear in current publications via their own views of themselves and their experiences and thirdly, through the eyes of western writers.

1.2 Defining feminism and emancipation

In order to examine feminist beliefs held in east and west Germany and to draw out any differences, it is appropriate to first define what is to be understood by ‘feminism’ and ‘being a feminist’ in this book.

At its broadest, feminism has been described as ‘women demanding their full rights as human beings’. In that women have tended to be treated very differently from men over a number of centuries, and with generally less rights and opportunities, feminism has also come to mean ‘challenging the relations between men (as a group) and women (as a group)’.[11] Particularly since industrialisation in the western world, men, who have come to work outside the home for a wage, have developed economic and political power structures, from which women, whose traditional role has been in the home, have been excluded. Feminism has then, in turn, related to the challenge of this predetermined division of labour between men and women which keeps women in the home and away from those fora where the economic and political decisions are made.

In that it is women as a group who find themselves subordinated by the status quo, feminism, and being a ‘feminist’, has also generally come to mean working together with other women to form a powerful enough voice to make such changes necessary. Thus women who make a career for themselves but continue to uphold the general status quo between men and women, as Margaret Thatcher did, for example, do not generally qualify. Being a ‘feminist’ today is then most commonly viewed as a conscious engagement with feminist ideology, a belief in collective action and the need to belong to a group of women. This is then the initial definition that this book will take on, with the reservation that where group meetings were not permitted, as in the GDR, ‘conscious’ engagement was relatively difficult to achieve and other means of fighting may have developed as a result.

Difficulties establishing ‘conscious engagement’ call for a second definition which might be applied to women who are not part of a movement. This book would, therefore, also like to consider the term ‘female emancipation’ or ‘being emancipated’ as comprising a significant contributing factor towards being a ‘feminist’, even where there is little evidence of conscious engagement. Here, the term ‘emancipated’ is, generally, defined as ‘free from the restrictions of traditional gender roles’. This definition is, however, open to a range of interpretations, depending on the view of the source of patriarchy and how to combat it. It can thus be perceived to relate to a range of factors including most importantly equal representation in the public sphere (generally education, employment and politics); financial independence; equality in private relations and within the family and a more general right to personal self-determination.

In summary, the use of ‘feminism’ and ‘feminist’ in this book will relate to those women, who are consciously engaging with feminist ideology or fighting for women as a group. Women, who have moved significantly beyond their traditional gender role, without conscious engagement with either feminist ideology or women as a group will be deemed to be ‘emancipated’. ‘Emancipation’ and ‘gender equality’ will relate to gaining equal representation and status in the public and private spheres. Despite the reservations raised in Section 1.3.1 regarding the status of Marxist Feminism, it will also continue to be referred to as a ‘feminist’ ideology, as there is clear engagement with the need to liberate women as a group from the restrictions of gender roles. Also of potential interest to this book is Bridget Young’s proposal of a further sub-division of those who are ‘feminists’ into ‘autonomous’ and ‘institutional’ feminists. These definitions recognise the ‘autonomous’ feminist’s attempt to create equality by demanding new political and economic structures, whereas ‘institutional’ feminists focus on establishing minor changes within a given political and economic system.[12] This could have relevance to east German women’s experience of arriving in a new system to which they have no attachment and therefore having a stronger desire to see fundamental structures changed rather than tending to the detail.

1.3 Approaches to feminism in East and West

East German women entered the Federal Republic in 1990 with the view that they were relatively emancipated and with some pride in their achievements, given the ‘overwhelming number of women who were working and who still managed, on average, to have two children’.[13] The high level of female employment was indeed an impressive indication of their achievements. To west German feminists, however, there was less of which to be proud. In their opinion, east German women had naïvely allowed themselves to be manipulated by men to take on an unacceptable dual burden of work and family.[14] This apparent polarisation of East and West positions could relate simply to identification with different ‘sides’ and with different interests. On the other hand, it is also probable that there are socialisation factors present in the two separate environments of the two German states, which have led to a definition of separate concepts of emancipation. This section looks at the dominant feminist ideologies present in each state to explore areas of difference and to examine whether these are indeed the source of current conflict.

1.3.1. Marxist Feminism in the GDR

The Marxist approach to feminism arrived in the GDR with the communist regime imposed by the Soviet Union. Its implementation was not, therefore, based on rights gained by a feminist movement in the usual way of ‘Emanzipation von unten’ (emancipation from below) but on policies issued by the SED Government in an ‘Emanzipation von oben’ (emancipation from above). As a result, feminist ideology in the GDR was also relatively monolithic based on the communist principles of a dominant party throughout the 40 years of the GDR’s existence and thus not only determined the legislation and policies on women’s issues but also to a great extent how women lived.[15] (See Chapter 2)

Marx and Engels’ theory of ‘historic realism’ proposed, first and foremost, that the material base for patriarchy was to be found in capitalism. Capitalism was thus also seen as the source of the traditional ‘female role’, particularly with reference to industrialisation and the emergence of a more complex division of labour. The family-based domestic industry had declined and the distinction between the public world of employment and the private world of home and family had been made more distinct. According to Marx and Engels, the production of surplus outside the home then became the key to male superiority in the home, as men accumulated property and left it to their children, thus superseding the traditional descent through the ‘mother right’.[16] As a result ‘production’ and ‘reproduction’ were no longer equal in status.[17] To counteract this development, Marx and Engels viewed female employment as a progressive force and believed that women’s economic independence was essential to their regaining equality. Indeed they considered it ‘the first condition for the liberation of women... to bring the whole female sex back into public industry’.[18] They did not, however, as early Liberal feminists had, view domestic work as inferior to work outside the home, but rather rejected its ‘capitalist form’ as a personal service. In this connection they proposed to make child-care and housework a collective responsibility.[19]

The same framework of historic materialism then also led Marx and Engels to conclude that it was historical social developments which had led to women finding themselves in the ‘caring’ spheres of society and being ascribed so-called ‘feminine qualities’ such as passivity, sensitivity, and intuition. It followed then that, when the barriers to women’s emancipation were lifted in a social revolution, such characteristics would be superseded by others and there would, therefore, be no limit to the potential which women would have in competing with men. They would then be able to enter more traditionally male spheres of work.[20]

The proximity of the SED’s policies for women to Marxist Feminism is most clearly visible in the immense push to achieve high female participation in ‘production’. Almost all the policies which the SED initiated on behalf of women related to their increased representation in the workplace. Thus there was a whole raft of laws to promote female access to education, training and employment brought into action from the inception of the GDR and even before.[21] (See Section 2.2 for further detail) The SED was not squeamish about positive discrimination and setting quotas for all branches of industry and there was also a considerable level of financial support for mothers and housewives to receive further training.[22]

In accordance with Marx’s ‘historic materialism’, the SED also presumed that women could and should take on a broader range of working activities than had previously been acceptable and take on more wide-ranging technical roles and physical work. Women were thus encouraged to assume engineering, electronics and chemical professions at levels which had previously only been occupied by men. Employers were also encouraged to promote women to management positions. The SED Government also went to considerable lengths in its legislation to assist working mothers to meet their dual responsibilities, based on generous maternity terms as well as shorter working hours and extensive leave to look after sick children. These policies were complemented by an almost comprehensive system of subsidised state child-care from birth, which also went a long way to meeting Marx and Engel’s intention to make the bringing up of children a collective responsibility, although the sector remained ironically a female sphere of work.

Despite the term ‘Marxist Feminism’ and Marx and Engels’ belief that ‘the first suppression of one class by another is that of the female by the male sex’,[23] it should be noted that they are not considered to be feminists as such. For Marx and Engels, women’s female equality could only be achieved if the socio-economic context of their oppression was removed in a socialist revolution which removed class and gender distinctions. Thus whilst they both included women in the liberation of the proletariat, their emancipation was somewhat marginal and not perceived as requiring a separate battle.[24] Indeed they felt that any battle for emancipation would naturally fail as society would not be changed as a result of conscious planning or appeals to reason or justice, as the current situation simply reflected capitalist material interests and the structured economic needs of that society.[25] It is here then where Marx and the SED parted company, as the GDR Government constructed an intricate edifice of legislation dedicated to the achievement of female emancipation and even claimed it had been achieved,[26] despite the fact that the required revolution had not taken place.

‘Feminism’ in the GDR thus displayed some distinctly unusual features. It was born of the ideology of potentially non-feminist theorists and was executed by a paternalistic government. It was not an ideology which had evolved amongst women dissatisfied with their status in society but was constructed by an idealistic left-wing Government trying to achieve its utopia. Here the parameters of feminism were laid down precisely and incorporated in the legislation in a state-initiated emancipation with a minimum of initiative by east German women themselves and yet, despite all this, its aims remained essentially emancipatory.

The legacy of the SED’s Marxist Feminism is likely to be essentially twofold, relating firstly to the ideological principles and then also to the top-down nature of their introduction in the GDR. Certainly, the experience of a. relatively monolithic feminism should imply a relatively direct transfer of the essential tenets of Marxist Feminism. These relate, above all, to the central focus on female integration into the workplace as the ultimate key to achieving female emancipation. Linked to this essential principle is the belief that women are not dissimilar to men and are thus just as capable of working in technical areas and holding management positions and indeed should do so. Within the private sphere, there is a deprioritising of the role of housewife and the assumption that child-care is an area of collective responsibility but also a rejection of any requirement to choose between work and a family. Here, the means of socialisation may also be of significance. That is, on the one hand, whether a relatively direct transfer of ideological principles can be perceived to have occurred, for example, via education and the media, effectively creating ‘new’ Marxist Feminists. Or, on the other hand, whether there appears to have been a gentler assimilation of beliefs as a result of living in a ‘Marxist Feminist environment’, creating women who uphold Marxist Feminist principles, whilst not effectively being Marxist Feminists.

There are then also characteristics which might be expected to arise from the acceptance of an essentially pre-packed feminism, with no opportunity for women to develop a movement of their own, based on their own beliefs and values. These relate firstly to a general tendency not to engage ‘consciously’ with feminist ideology. A dependence on state initiative is also likely to lead to a pattern of expectation from the state, as has generally been perceived amongst ex-GDR citizens,[27] and this will be examined more closely in Chapter 2 as part of the analysis of detail of the GDR’s legislation for women. In the case of women, this also implies an acceptance of male involvement (as the state was essentially male) and thus a potential rejection of the participation of women as a group against men as a group. This leaves east German women in the rather ironical position of appearing to the world as particularly emancipated in their high involvement in industry and in the economy whilst at the same time, as Marx himself, potentially failing to fulfil the criteria of what comprises a feminist.

It should not be ignored, however, that despite the tight control of the GDR Government, there was, nevertheless, some development of a women’s movement in the GDR in the 1980s in the wake of the peace movement and particularly during the demonstrations of 1989. This movement aimed to contribute to building a better GDR, a ‘socialist society without patriarchal relations’ but was particularly distinguished by the desire to do so ‘together with men’.[28] (for further detail see Chapter 4)

1.3.2 Conservatism, Liberal, Marxist and Radical Feminism in the Federal Republic

The circumstances for the development of a feminist movement in the Federal Republic were quite different. Here there was a strong patriarchal voice in the form of a conservative Federal Government which upheld traditional gender roles and a ‘male-breadwinner philosophy’.[29] Market economy principles meant that it became most comfortable to have one wage-earner per family supported by their partner in terms of child-care and housework, inevitably the mother, with women working in low-level part-time posts and functioning as a reserve labour force in times of economic upswing. These tendencies were also reflected in fewer policy decisions relating to women than in the GDR and a relatively slow increase of representation in public spheres.[30] (See also Chapter 2) Female equality was, thus, more a field for debate than policy with the emergence of a number of feminist voices which attempted to achieve ‘emancipation from below’. The pluralist environment of the Federal Republic meant that west German women were able to develop and absorb very wide-ranging arguments from a variety of traditions which all made quite different contributions to the debate on what emancipation comprised.

The most widespread and long-standing of these movements, Liberal Feminism, had in fact existed since the Enlightenment, with its root in the declaration of human rights, and had as its central aim ‘to take action to bring women into full participation in the mainstream...of society’.[31] It emerged strongly as a movement in the late 1960s in the Federal Republic as part of the feminist ‘revolution’ following the advent of the birth-pill and demanded that women be more fairly represented in education, employment and politics. As such it had some common aims with Marxist Feminism but they tended to be broader, allowing for a wide range of female activities and not necessarily looking at full-time work in male spheres. Certainly the single-mindedness of purpose of the SED in pushing women into all male spheres was not present and there was, for example, little commitment to imposing quotas until the late 1980s. Furthermore, there was continued resistance from the Federal Government so that although some progress was made, it was always much impeded. As a result, female representation in the public sphere increased at a slower pace in the Federal Republic than many other west European countries.[32]

The 1960s also saw the most powerful anti-system voice of the west German feminist movement, that of the Radical Feminists, enter the political arena where it remained at the forefront of most intellectual debate on feminist issues in the West into the 1990s. For the Radical Feminists, patriarchy had clearly existed beyond capitalism and all other economic systems and thus had its source beyond them.[33] As such, increased representation in the public sphere was not necessarily perceived as beneficial to the female cause as these areas were simply seen to be protecting male interests.[34] Significantly, west German Radical Feminists thus rejected the assumed link between employment, financial independence and emancipation and pointed instead to the difficulties of a woman trying to emulate her father but without a wife at her side to support her in terms of hours and flexibility.[35] Marxist and Liberal Feminists’ demands for state child-care and quotas were, thus, merely viewed as ‘plugging the gaps’ in a failed social order. The rejection of the workplace, however, also tended to complement the market economy’s preference for a ‘housewife’ marriage.

Radical Feminism rejected strongly any setting of the parameters of female equality by men, as in the GDR. Indeed, men were defined as the enemy, i.e. all those who were profiting from patriarchy even if they were not ‘actively’ upholding it. Feminism was to be firmly based in women’s own experiences and perceptions and to relate to what they wanted.[36] For Radical Feminists there could be no progress in the public sphere until equality was gained in the private sphere, where women were seen to face male power and control in its crudest form in terms of sexual exploitation and where men were able to subordinate women with physical power and violence.[37] They thus established refuges for women and called for more laws to condemn husbands who physically abused their wives. They also attempted to change fundamental gender equality by demanding equal status for women in language and insisting on the use of the female forms of professions, the addition of ‘Innen’ to plurals and ‘frau’ instead of ‘man’.[38] Rather than trying to imitate men in their roles, the Radicals presented women in their nurturing role as morally superior to men whom they held responsible for wars and pollution. They saw no need for legal equality or for men and women to be treated the same and insisted that social realities such as human interdependence and biological differences needed to taken into account to prevent women from being handicapped by their child-rearing role in a society governed by rules made by men.[39]

Marxist Feminists naturally also existed in the Federal Republic, within the German Communist Party from the late 18th century, and later in socialist women’s groups.[40] Generally they separated themselves from the west German Radical Feminists whose techniques of comparing personal experiences of patriarchy seemed ‘woolly’ compared to their politically-based ideology.[41] In addition to the traditional Marxist positions on the need for total social reform via revolution and the need for women to be involved in production, the west German Marxist Feminists also had some distinctive viewpoints. One important example was their contribution to the debate on domestic labour in the 1970s where they concluded that patriarchy in the home also has economic roots, with male labour as its product, and thus merited a wage as any other work. This complemented the Radical Feminist demand for recognition of the female domestic role[42] and thus exemplifies an ideological osmosis between west German feminist movements. Marxist Feminism in the East continued to reject the housewife role as a valid model for women, as had Marx and Engels themselves.

The legacy of west German feminism is thus, in contrast to feminism in the GDR, a complex combination of different influences, yielding a range of theories on the achievement of equality which are not always compatible. Certainly, alongside the call for greater representation for women, there is also resistance to the need for women to imitate men in the workplace to achieve emancipation. Coexisting with the demand for more equal treatment of men and women, there is also a strong voice celebrating female difference and the significance and moral superiority of the nurturing female role. There is also a significant focus on equality in the private sphere, particularly with reference to the prevention of male violence against women, as a prerequisite for emancipation in wider society.

The breadth of debate in the Federal Republic is likely to have influenced west German women in a variety of ways. There is likely to have been greater sensibilisation to feminist issues in general, as well as a broader range of permutations in personal beliefs. Furthermore, the grass roots feminist activities against a patriarchal government will have reinforced the assumption that feminism is a matter for women alone. Again, the west German position also holds some irony, in that despite the probability of greater feminist awareness and greater feminist activity, there was little shift away from the housewife marriage as favoured by the patriarchal government and the market economy, leaving west German women in the home, relatively underrepresented in the public sphere and economically dependent on their husbands.

1.3.3 An evaluation of feminism in East and West

The contrast of the two feminist backgrounds of the GDR and the Federal Republic presents a clear pre-existing opposition of standpoints. Despite some parallels between Marxist and Liberal Feminism, the strong influence of Radical Feminism has added another significant trend to west German thinking. First and foremost, there is conflict in theories on the source of patriarchy where Radical insistence that patriarchy finds its source in the family clashes with Marx’s belief that patriarchy is linked to economic relationships. There is also significant disagreement with regard to Marxist Feminism’s focus on employment as the means to emancipation which Radical theory rejects as an integration into male values in an environment based on male interests. The Radical fight to preserve traditional nurturing ‘female’ values represents a further alienation from the work environment, which is again unacceptable to Marxist Feminism. Furthermore, Radical Feminism does not accept the dual burden of family and career as a viable proposition for female emancipation and GDR feminism does not accept a choice between them.

Away from the central conflict of female employment there are further potentially irreconcilable differences. Thus the separatist nature of west German feminists’ fight against patriarchy does not find any resonance in east German ideology given that there hasn’t been the same experience of a ‘gender battle’. Moreover, recipients of the SED’s ‘Emanzipation von Oben’ are less accepting of the Radical claim of a ubiquitous universal patriarchy and the ‘sisterhood’ concept of feminism. Clashes then arise from the Radical insistence on ‘feminist’ language, which is rejected by Marxist Feminism as toying with the detail, which will right itself better by female employment in male fields.

In attempting to forecast ideological socialisation relating to feminist ideals, it is also important to distinguish between the socialisation of feminists, i.e. those consciously engaging with a feminist ideology, and those not. Whilst the feminists could be expected to reflect the ideology of the dominant movements, the non-feminists are likely to be less predictable and may be reacting to more personal socialising influences. As the feminist movement did not exist officially in the East, there are also likely to be more women who fall into this category of ‘non-engagement’. These are all issues to be reflected on in greater depth in subsequent chapters.

1.4 Feminist voices in East and West

The entry of east German women into the Federal Republic and their experiences both pre- and post-unification, have naturally been a focus for scholarly debate and the source of a large number of publications. Such publications have provided an important forum for east and west German women to voice their opinions on the situation and on each other, whether as fellow academics or as the western researcher and the east German interviewee. This East/West dialogue grants insight into the different opinions, beliefs and value systems on each side and presents this book with an initial indication of the outcome of the socialising influences of the different feminist ideologies. It also provides further insight into east German women’s status as a distinctive social group.

This section reviews a number of publications in order to explore the opinions expressed by women in East and West and investigates the differences in viewpoint which have arisen, particularly with a view to linking them to the socialisation of different feminist environments prior to unification. In assessing the nature of this East/West dialogue, it is noted that there are two significant voices which reveal a strong polarisation of East and West positions. These colour the majority of publications; the disappointment and dissatisfaction expressed by east German women regarding their new lives in the Federal Republic and the countervoice of western authors which denies the basis of this disappointment and dissatisfaction.[43] Conflict between east and west German women remains significant as it is indicative of how well and promptly east German women could be considered likely to adapt to Federal Germany or indeed whether they are likely to remain dissatisfied. Certainly any long-term conflict between east and west German women could be deemed likely to lead to a vicious circle leading to intensified east German dissatisfaction and the creation of a ‘Trotzidentität’ as examined in Chapter 3.

1.4.1 East German disappointment

The voice of east German women found in post-unification literature is frequently that of the interviewee in the many studies and polls which have been carried out since unification. It is presumably partly as a result of this bias that it is a particularly strong and emotional voice, expressing a seemingly endless dissatisfaction with the Federal Republic. It is a voice which looks back to what women had in the GDR and finds the Federal Republic wanting, granting the east German woman the unpopular identity of the ‘ewige Meckerin’ (the eternal moaner).[44] It is also a voice that has moved west German commentators to coin the ironically applied phrase ‘Ostalgie’ (East-nostalgia)[45] as from their point of view east German regrets for the GDR are misplaced and overstated. East German women’s commentary thus relates to a whole range of disappointments with the changes they have experienced in the Federal regime. Whilst it tends to reflect personal experience in the main, there are also some indications of a more theoretical response. In 1993, the Allensbach Institute found that 81% of east German women viewed unification as a backward step, not only for themselves, but with regard to women’s general equality and financial independence.[46] Even by 2001, poll results published by a research centre in Berlin revealed that 70% of east German women still harboured some fears about their future and although a growing optimism has been noted since 1998, they still tended to be less positive then men.[47]

The most significant and strongest east German voice in post-unification publications relates, not surprisingly, to the high female unemployment which has continued to blight east German women’s integration into Federal society. There is a strength of emotion in the rejection of unemployment both from personal experience and as a general phenomenon which is not apparent amongst unemployed women in the West and which already serves as an early indicator of a distinctive set of values. In Rita Süssmuth and Helga Schubert’s discussion on whether east German women are indeed the losers of unification in ‘Bezahlen die Frauen die Wiedervereinigung?’ (Are women paying for reunification?), for example, the loss of work is portrayed very powerfully as ‘a complete loss of identity and well-being’.[48] A response in a study carried out by the ‘Landesfrauenrat Sachsen-Anhalt’ (the Women’s State Council for Saxony Anhalt) in 1999 explains the detail of this claim:

‘Unemployment means worrying about the future,
Unemployment means no pension when you’re old,
Unemployment means being dependent on your husband or partner,
Unemployment means a constant decrease in your standard of living,
Unemployment means social decline and no recognition of achievements,
Unemployment means losing your self-respect’.[49]

Ruth Alsop’s interviewees in ‘Women, Work and the Wende’ also emphasise that they are totally isolated without work as the workplace was where they met people and where ‘women were able to come together and talk about their problems’.[50] Thus unemployment for these women becomes a vicious circle of ‘being poor, having no friends and no contacts and thus not being able to get work’.[51] In a series of interviews for the ‘Rheinische Merkur’ in 1991, east German women also explained that they are unable to accept the ‘full-time mother role’ as an alternative to working, as for them it is ‘isolating, limiting and even degrading and in every way second class to working’. They also describe considerable difficulties in coping with the daily routine of unemployment, particularly suddenly having to organise their day around a child. Significantly, they themselves point to ‘their socialisation by generations of working women in the GDR’ as the source of their own preference for a ‘weekend-mother role’.[52]

This voice already represents, a rather excessive reaction to unemployment for the western reader and one which has even apparently surprised east German women themselves, unaware of how something they had just taken for granted had become so important to them. In ‘Zerbrochene Karriere’ (Broken Career) by Cornelia Sombrowsky, an east German woman attempts to assess her own experience of losing her job. She describes how she had initially thought that she would be able to cope better than her husband had and that she imagined that unemployment was inevitably worse for him. In fact, when she had to take early retirement a few years later she explains that she ‘noticed then for the first time that it would, in fact, have been just as terrible for [her]’ as she ‘needed work as well’.[53] This sudden awareness of the need to work is examined further in Dodds and Allen-Thompsons’ book, ‘The Wall in my Backyard’, when an interviewee attempts to explain how work just became an integral part of their lives without them noticing:

‘Women in the GDR were never aware of the meaning of their work. People simply worked. We grew up, we worked and there was not anything else. As the child-care existed and women couldn’t be fired, it was all very convenient. Now women here will have to become much more conscious of work, and I think women will become increasingly dissatisfied. The first thing they will miss is the joy of working. Women will notice how much they miss working when work is no longer available’.[54]

Thus, whilst discussing their unemployment, east German women also grant insight into their distinctive relationship to their work. They speak out strongly for the wide range of benefits that work brought them, from their financial independence to a new sense of self-esteem and of being appreciated by society.[55] The link between east German women’s relationship to work and their attitudes to unemployment is significant to this book as it connects current disappointment to experiences of life in the GDR and to Marxist Feminist ideology. It should also be noted that it is not just the unemployed who express dissatisfaction with unemployment but that employed women are also critical. They question, above all, the logic of a status quo where they ‘have to work 8 hours and over…whilst others have no work…with the constant stress of maybe losing your work’.[56] For many east German women unemployment is simply unethical and makes no sense is as ‘it’s better to employ too many people, than to employ less and give the others unemployment benefit’.[57]

Another area where east German women express considerable discontent relates to the potential incompatibility of a career and a family in the Federal Republic. This reflects again the inherent importance of work to east German women but also the importance of having children. As with unemployment their reaction to an enforced choice between family and career is a very strong and emotional one. A contributor to Katrin Rohnstock’s anthology, ‘Stiefschwestern’, describes the reaction at a meeting where a west German woman had just explained that it was quite normal for them to choose between a career and family:

‘The east German women were speechless and shocked. Even if they did not have two or three children, they had at least one...they all had a profession and were all in work and needed to make a living. They went cold. If it was said with such conviction, although it might not be 100% true, there had to be something in it. This woman couldn’t have said anything more grotesque to us. We had all spent years in the battle between children, profession and partner, trying to hold everything together….Not everyone was happy, there are always gaps on all sides, but if these women had ever been able to do without one part of this life, they would have done so long ago’.[58]

The voice of east German women in post-unification literature thus links their need to work to a need for work to be compatible with having a family. In terms of identity, it is significant, that this combination is strongly related to the SED’s brand of Marxist Feminism, where women were given significant incentives to continue having children despite taking on paid employment.

Post-unification publications also reveal east German women’s tendency to look back at the advantages they feel they had in the GDR and to experience what is generally ironically referred to in the West as ‘Ostalgie’. For many, life in general just doesn’t seem as good as it was. This relates mostly to women’s position in society with direct comparisons of their working record next to west German women’s and to ‘the comprehensive child-care system’ compared to ‘the spectacular gap in provision’ in the Federal Republic.[59] It also relates, however, to more general aspects as Katrin Rohnstock herself is keen to point out:

‘Compared to east German experiences, western conditions are so Stone Age, that the laws and customs in the GDR seem like an emancipatory utopia, unreal and unrealisable in the current situation’.[60]

Even the once despised nationally organised celebrations and marches can now be mourned for the loss of the sense of collective interaction and the feelings of solidarity and community they engendered.[61] A further aspect of east German women’s dissatisfaction is thus also expressed as a lack of belonging. There is a sense of alienation from the Federal Republic and a fear of an environment which is so different:

‘I have to mistrust everything and everybody as everyone just looks after themselves; the Landlord, the Lawyer, the Insurance Agent. I have to concern myself with issues I have no interest in...just to save my skin, just to live from day-to-day. In the GDR I never was afraid for my actual existence. Now I’ve got thousands of fears that I won’t be able to pay the rent or the school fees or my daughter’s dance classes or the special treatment my handicapped son needs. I’m frightened of competition, even amongst my friends’.[62]

Looking back just in general one interviewee of researcher Angela Joost in ‘Arbeit, Liebe, Leben - Eigene Arrangements’ (Work, Love, Life - Own Arrangements) summarises ‘we were just happier then...without really knowing the reason why...as this happiness was not initiated by any particular aspect’.[63] This relative happiness remains a common theme for many east German women, despite the general recognition of the many faults of life in the GDR.[64]

It is significant, in terms of the potential amongst east German women for political mobilisation that, although the voice of dissatisfaction expressed in the literature tends to relate strongly to personal change, there are also many indications that it is also connected to a more general withdrawal of state support. These responses, particularly the more theoretical ‘feminist’ responses, also demonstrate close links with Marxist Feminism and socialist theory. There is, therefore, frequent criticism of the hypocrisy of Federal democracy where people vote freely but still have no real opportunity to change things:

‘I wonder, not for the first time, just what it has been possible to sell to them as ‘freedom’...I admire one thing in this Federal Republic, just how it has managed to convince most of its people they are free’.[65]

Disappointment is also expressed regarding the market economy. Ulrike Helwerth notes, for example, how an east German feminist she interviewed could see ‘nothing good about the Federal Republic’ and was ‘simply furious at the excess of goods in the Department stores and the flood of advertising’.[66] Katrin Rohnstock sees the market economy as ‘a step back one hundred years’ as it creates a situation where ‘children are a handicap …and…. do not pay off’.[67] Another feminist, with clear allusion to socialist terminology claims that the Federal Republic as ‘not a democracy but the rule of capital’.[68]

The opinions of east German women and feminists, as expressed in the majority of post-unification literature, thus reflect a strong anti-system voice and already point to a distinct identity which sets them apart from west German women. They are critical of the Federal system but there is also an inherent criticism of west German women and what is seen as their acceptance of it.[69] There is evidence of both disappointment on a range of issues and also of considerable strength of feeling. The focus of their discontent would seem to reflect an affiliation with the past, whereby what they reject about the Federal Republic, such as unemployment or choice between a career and children, clearly relates to their experience of the GDR. It is noted that particularly the opinions of the ‘non-feminists’ appear to relate to this personal experience than to ideological conviction, i.e. they believe that both work and children are important for women as they have both been significant factors in their own lives . The final outcome that they also ultimately hold Marxist Feminist values, however, remains the same.

1.4.2 The western countervoice

East German dissatisfaction with the Federal Republic has, in general, been a surprise to the west Germans, confident that what the Federal Republic had to offer was in every way superior to what had existed in the GDR.[70] Even when east German women had been acknowledged as the ‘Wendeverliererinnen’ it could still easily be assumed in the West that there is still little cause for any widespread or deep dissatisfaction, given what has been gained. Post-unification publications have thus also provided a platform for west German women, primarily feminists, and other western commentators to deny the basis of east German disappointment and dissatisfaction and to question their opinions and values. Coming from feminist authors, the western countervoice tends to demonstrate a more theoretical approach and it represents a strong challenge to east German opinions, questioning their awareness of feminist issues and the existence of female emancipation in the GDR.[71] The detail of western criticism is significant in that it provides insight into the nature of the conflict between East and West and into the identity of the women on each side. Evidence of a high level of criticism could also be considered to be a source of an east German ‘Trotzidentität’ amongst women i.e. a withdrawal amongst east German women to an east German identity as a reaction to overt criticism from the West .[72] This will be investigated further in Chapter 3.

In presenting the views of western feminists on the achievements of GDR feminism in post-unification publications, it is firstly acknowledged that many commentaries do initially recognise the east German women’s achievements regarding high female employment, comprehensive child-care and liberal abortion.[73] There is also an underlying admiration ‘for the way they managed to link employment and family in their everyday lives’.[74] What generally follows, however, is a more questioning and probing analysis of these achievements.

The most fundamental question raised by feminist commentators is whether there was any basis of feminist ideology in the GDR at all. Western feminists tend to ascribe to the theory of Marx’s ‘gender-blindness’ and thus claim that the SED’s policies were related to their own needs and not to women’s.[75] As such the GDR’s ‘Emanzipation von oben’ is deemed to be merely the manipulation and exploitation of women by men.[76] In this way the achievement of high female employment in the GDR can be interpreted as a simple necessity in a less advanced economy with no ‘emancipatory’ basis.[77] This position is seen to be justified by the fact that men in the GDR earned less than their western counterparts and could not, therefore, easily support the family on one wage. Furthermore the particularly high unemployment figures amongst women since unification are also perceived as evidence that women were not sufficiently integrated into the workplace or sufficiently respected to be able to compete with men once full employment was no longer guaranteed.[78]

Another interpretation of east German women’s lives in the GDR is exemplified by Angela Joost who points out that female emancipation was not absolute in the GDR, despite such claims by east German politicians.[79] As Heidrun Hoppe also indicates in ‘Frauenleben: Alltag, Aufbruch und neue Unsicherheiten’ (Women’s lives: Everyday, New Departures and New Insecurities), this immutable truth is supported by any number of proofs. She points, in particular, to the continuing dominance of men in the public sphere, throughout industry and politics, to inequalities in salary and to the persistence of patriarchal power structures in the home.[80] Western analysis also points to the exploitation of east German women such as ‘the long working hours and hard working conditions’ and the lack of ‘leisure time’.[81] This, in turn, supports the conclusion that Gisela Helwig, amongst many others, reaches in ‘Frauen in Deutschland 1945-1992’ (Women in Germany) that ‘there was then very little difference in what was happening in the GDR and the Federal Republic in terms of the level of actual equality achieved’.[82] This type of analysis does, however, distract attention away from a more comparative measure of the levels of emancipation which had been attained in the two states as will be assessed in Chapter 2.

A particularly contentious area presented to the debate by western authors relates to the perpetuation of the ‘Doppelbelastung’ (the dual burden of family and employment) in the GDR. The SED is thus perceived as having done little to rebalance the gender roles in the private sphere to compensate for female employment. For western commentators, such as Eva Kolinsky in ‘Women after Muttipolitk’, the ‘Doppelbelastung’ is an untenable position which demonstrates that central issues were not tackled in the GDR. The SED Government’s ‘network of social and family benefits’, the ironically named ‘Muttipolitik’ (Mummy-policies), is derided, in particular, for serving to emphasise women’s role in the home by offering assistance such as ‘housework days’ only to women or single fathers.[83] Heidrun Hoppe also points to other benefits relating principally to financial assistance to families with children as a further means of exploiting women by encouraging traditional biographies of early marriage and family.[84] These views on the private sphere, in particular, are indicative of a standpoint with roots in Radical Feminism.

Viewed from this angle east German women’s identity is suddenly quite different. They are no longer women emancipated by their working record and they certainly cannot be considered to be feminists. Indeed in a reverse image of Katrin Rohnstock’s earlier comment, the east German women’s movement is likened by some to that ‘in the West a century ago’.[85] Western commentary points to a lack of awareness of patriarchy and feminist theory amongst east German women and how it has shaped their lives.[86] Indeed their acceptance of the state’s role in their emancipation is perceived as collusion in the perpetuation of patriarchy. East German women are, for example, portrayed as weak by western feminists for accepting an ideology where ‘women adapted to men’s professions whilst remaining mother and wife at home’.[87] Eva Kolinsky writes, for example, that east German women ‘clung to a largely traditional distribution of male and female tasks’[88] and Gerlinde Seidenspinner describes in ‘Frau sein in Deutschland’ (Being a Woman in Germany) how women allowed themselves to be exploited, ‘juggling a range of work and household duties’.[89] As a result they are perceived as ‘overworked and exploited with careworn faces and work-worn bodies...so washed out’.[90] Ironically, they are simultaneously criticised for their acceptance of the SED’s ‘Muttipolitik’ simply because it ‘eased the burden’.[91] Typically for the increasingly common western biography of choice between family and career, western contributions to the debate on their compatibility frequently display confusion at east German women’s inability to separate the two roles of mother and employee in the way that is considered appropriate in the West. Thus a contributor to ‘Stiefschwestern’ does not approve of east German women who ‘took their children with them everywhere…and… wonder[s] contemptuously what’s that got to do with feminism?’[92]

Western commentators reflect again the ethos of Radical Feminism in their bemusement and irritation at east German women’s need to be ‘too often on men’s side’[93] and Mechthild Jansen questions ‘their fear of a relationship based on conflict with men ?’[94] Above all, they are infuriated by ‘their stubbornness at bringing male friends and husbands to women’s evenings’.[95] For western feminists, this is proof that east German women ‘deliberately disassociate themselves from feminism and ‘emancipation’.[96] An affiliation to Radical Feminist theories on the patriarchy of language is also evident in the anger at ‘the stubborn refusal of GDR women to recognise their ‘difference’ symbolically in language’,[97] such as the use of professional feminine forms (‘Ingenieurin’ etc.). The consistent use of the male description for women and the claim ‘ich bin Ingenieur’ is thus perceived as ‘an inner weakness in the east German feminist movement’.[98]

East German women are also commonly portrayed by western writers as politically naïve. The GDR’s ‘Emanzipation von oben’ whereby female emancipation was carried out by men, is deemed to be a prime cause of this. Marianne Rueschemeyer points to the disenfranchising nature of such policies, leaving east German women ill-equipped to organise themselves politically and ‘unable to be their own advocates’.[99] East German calls for full female employment and comprehensive child-care are also viewed as naïve. For many western writers such proposals ‘belong definitively to the past’[100] and are ‘no longer financially viable’.[101]

The viewpoints which western authors bring to the debate on east German women’s experiences thus generally contribute to contradict the position of east German women as the ‘Wendeverliererinnen’ (losers of unification). The general picture is that east German women, despite all problems, are likely to have gained more than they have lost. Even east German women’s unemployment is not necessarily perceived as a great problem by all ‘given that the male wage will undoubtedly rise to be adequate for the family’[102] and that the ‘worn out East-mum’ would surely welcome a break.[103] There is little tolerance then of the position of ‘Ostalgie’. In common with general feeling between East and West, western writers thus reveal that they feel that east German women complain too much and are ungrateful for what has been achieved in terms of female equality, even refusing quotas and other policies which west German women have fought so hard for’.[104] In the light of their incompatibility with the western system, they also view the post-unification withdrawal of women’s groups from political competition as proof that they are unlikely to mobilise politically and therefore generally believe that they will have to adapt in order to assimilate.[105]

Yet whilst criticism of east German ‘feminism’ remains strong, there is also an undercurrent in the writings of some western women that it is, in part, a defence mechanism to protect their own position. The entry of east German women into the Federal Republic has called much into question those choices they have made to cope with the demands of the market economy:

‘How have they managed it ? we asked ourselves getting more and more irritated. Even our relationships collapse if we want to work at our careers. Children, God help us. What would we have done with them? A spark of envy sets off a bitter train of thought: over there, they could afford both children and a career. It was cultivated, promoted and organised by the state. They did not have to break off their studies. They did not have to worry about their jobs’.[106]

Unification with east German women is, thus, also revealed as problematic for west German women. The entry of east German women with their expectations from another society has called their lives and their accepted status quo into question. There is, nevertheless, little indication in the literature that west German women see any other alternative for east German women other than a gradual adaptation to west German feminist principles. Certainly they show little sign of promoting the possibility that east German women might hold on to aspects of their existence in the GDR and that west German women might adapt.[107] West German women and feminists have tended to come to terms with the difficulties of achieving a career and family in the Federal Republic and ultimately it seems they expect east German women to do so as well.

There is much, then, in the writings of western women and feminists which points to differences between east and west German women and thus indeed, to a unique east German identity. It is unfortunate, although possibly inevitable, that these differences should also be perceived in such a negative light. Western analysis also reveals itself as being rooted primarily in Western feminist theory and indeed it is essentially east German women’s less theoretical approach to their emancipation, which serves to alienate western commentators most. The standpoint that east German women allowed themselves to be manipulated by a patriarchal state is problematic, of course, in that it leaves little room for any respect for east German achievements and little room for praise of the progress that east German women have made in the workplace. Western perception of east German women’s identity is thus quite different to that presented by east German women themselves. They are not the superwomen achieving a career and financial independence, as well as a family, but rather naïve women with little feminist awareness, allowing themselves to be exploited. This perception is also the source of significant conflict.

1.4.3 The meeting of East and West

‘It was from the beginning an ambivalent relationship’[108]

The two voices which have emerged from the literature on east German women since unification, that of the disappointed east German woman and the western countervoice, are clearly in conflict. East German women are very negative about their new environment and western feminists are equally negative about east German feminism. This conflict has first surprised east and west German women and then become a focus of interest in post-unification publications such as Katrin Rohnstock’s ‘Stiefschwestern’ which attempt to locate the reasons behind it and rationalise the differences. Conflict, as revealed in the literature, has certainly not been limited to just one or two minor areas, but has arisen from areas of difference relating to many fundamental aspects of women’s lives such as their employment, their children and their relationships with men. Ulrike Helwerth (west German) and Gerlinde Schwarz (east German), who co-wrote ‘Muttis und Emanzen’ (Mummies and Women’s Libbers), became aware at East-West meetings as early as 1990 that ‘whatever the topic, political or social, there no longer seemed to be a common language and...differences were much greater than we had ever realised’.[109]

Particularly significantly, there is immediate alienation regarding east German women’s pride in their achievements in the workplace; that ‘the GDR women earned 30-40% of the family income compared to just 18% in the Federal Republic’[110] and that ‘there were so many women in the so-called male professions’.[111] East German women are scornful of west German women, whom they claim ‘do not want to work in the majority’[112] and expect some recognition of their achievements. West German women, on the other hand, whilst recognising the high female employment figures of the GDR see this as the source of the ‘equality myth’ in the GDR[113] and claim that east German women made the mistake of ‘orientating themselves too much to male ideals’ to get their emancipation.[114]

Where children are concerned, there is also evidence of a strong rejection of west German women’s general acceptance of a choice between being a mother or a career women by east German women. Certainly the majority ‘just cannot believe the statistic in ‘Spiegel’ that 33% of west German women gave up having children for their career’.[115] This is mirrored by west German women’s mystification at their east German sisters’ insistence on ‘parading the blessing of children at every conference...and threatening the carefully constructed identity of the single feminist’.[116] As indicated earlier, there is also the similar conflict on the position of men, where west German feminists are unable to comprehend east German feminists’ need to bring their husbands to feminist meetings and east German women remain confused by the need for western separatism. Indeed, a west German feminist describes in ‘Muttis und Emanzen’ how this conflict of beliefs resulted in many east German women leaving a conference in Cologne with their husbands.[117]

The difference in these positions has led to many stereotypes but most of them relating to the essential polarisation of the east German ‘Muttis’ and the west German ‘Emanzen’. East German women are thus commonly ascribed more feminine attributes such as ‘dependent, sentimental, lacking in confidence, defensive, demanding, passive, fearful, subordinate, sentimental and emotional’ whilst west German women are deemed to be ‘bossy, resolute, arrogant, dominating, inconsiderate, antisocial, egocentric and logical, that is more ‘male’.[118] This juxtaposition not only highlights the way east German women’s attitudes to children are perceived in the West but also the general perception that east German women have little conscious engagement with feminism compared with west German women.[119] West German women’s greater experience of the feminist movement is thus deemed to place them in ‘a position of automatic superiority’ in terms of feminist engagement, knowledge and experience.[120]

East German women also feel alienated from the ‘strident feminists’ in the West.[121] They are angered by the automatic assumption that they should totally adapt to western feminism[122] and that they should find themselves patronised by west German feminists for their lack of feminist identity. They remain particularly aggrieved at the need for ‘feminist language’ in the West where the distinction between ‘Mauerer’ or ‘Mauererin’ is an irrelevance to them in the light of the actual increase in women in technical jobs in the GDR’.[123] Neither do east German women see themselves as necessarily weaker than women in the West or less able to resist the pressures on them. Elisabeth Wesuls, an east German author presents the interesting analogy of two frogs being boiled. The first frog placed in cold water and gradually heated to boiling does not resist, but the frog placed in boiling water struggles violently. For her east German women’s sudden confrontation with unsatisfactory conditions for women in the Federal Republic lead them to a more powerful rejection of the status quo than is evident amongst west German women.[124] The assumption is, therefore, made by some that east German women’s dissatisfaction with the Federal Republic could ultimately be a position of strength and indicate a potential as a political force.

There is then already much evidence that the pattern of alienation between east and west German women reflects the same patterns of values and beliefs of the governing ideologies in East and West. The most significant areas arising are the role of paid employment and its compatibility with the family and the role of men in women’s emancipation. Unification has meant that both east and west German women have found themselves with these values and beliefs called into question and high female unemployment and the loss of child-care in the East has then increased their polarisation. Both have been obliged to reassess their own lives and not without some discomfort and some jealousy. East German women look at west German women’s easy confidence in dealing with western society and resent the ease with which west German women could experience travel, literature, and other lifestyles and a self-development which was never possible in the GDR.[125] West German women want east German women to ‘finally understand why [they] have organised [their] lives the way [they] have’ rather than labelling them as ‘men-haters’ and ‘ruthless monsters’.[126]

There is also considerable evidence that the sense of alienation between East and West is strong and covers extensive ground, even likened by one east German feminist to the alienation ‘between men and women’.[127] The focus of this alienation follows a general pattern of conflict between Marxist and Radical Feminism, as exemplified in the GDR and the Federal Republic, and again confirms a different pattern of beliefs amongst east German women. The fact that the areas of conflict are fundamental and that the emotions expressed reveal considerable depth of feeling, indicates that this alienation is unlikely to disappear in the near future, particularly as the solutions to their alienation tend also to be different. Thus the east German awareness, that they do not fit it and have the ‘wrong biography’ and are in the ‘wrong film’,[128] is mostly associated with a need for the Federal Republic to change in order to meet their distinctive needs. The recognition by western women that east German women have a distinctive identity, however, is generally accompanied by the demand that it is they who need to adapt to Federal society. Whether this new start is a change for the better or a loss of rights is then at the centre of the East-West debate on feminist ideology.

1.5 Conclusion

This chapter has provided an introduction to the experiences of east German women pre- and post-unification from a range of different angles. This has established that east German women are highly disappointed with the Federal Republic and that this disappointment relates strongly to their lives in the GDR and to the significance of employment in their lives. This connection points in turn to links between east German views with a Marxist Feminist ethos. On the other hand, the Western voice has been shown to display quite different feminist values beliefs in keeping with feminist influences in the West. This conflict of views has been noted as a significant source of alienation between east and west German women which is rooted in fundamental issues of female emancipation, and which is likely therefore to be long-term. These differences in east German women’s outlook are already indicative their uniqueness as a social group and are likely to be a source of difficulty in their integration into the Federal Republic. Yet whilst Western commentators acknowledge their uniqueness, there is little acceptance of east German women’s perception of themselves as the ‘Wendeverliererinnen’. This challenge from the West calls much of east German women’s perception of their life as women in the GDR into question

CHAPTER 2 PUBLIC POLICY AND THE REALITIES OF FEMALE EMANCIPATION IN THE GDR

2.1 Introduction - opinion and reality

Western challenges to east German women’s claim to the title of ‘Wendeverliererinnen’ call much of their life as women in the GDR into question. Yet, at the same time, there has been little intensive comparison of women’s lives in the GDR and the Federal Republic and their relative emancipation, leaving much of what is claimed on either side largely unsubstantiated. In order to redress this imbalance and to gain a more objective viewpoint of the changes east German women have experienced since unification, this chapter investigates the detail of east German women’s everyday lives in the GDR. It examines their circumstances in education, employment, family life and political participation and reviews public policy governing these areas. It presents this information against the background of comparative details of women’s lives in west Germany. This comparison should serve to illuminate the socialising factors influencing east German women, as well as to highlight the changes in environment that they have experienced as part of the reunification process.

2.2 Public policy and equality legislation

The SED’s legislation on gender equality was intended to replace the need for any feminist movement, as the removal of gender discrimination would mean that ‘such protest would be absurd in the GDR’.[129] Although paternalistic in approach this represented a strong political commitment to east German women and a potentially significant advantage over west German women in terms of legislative support. The extent of this advantage will be explored by referring to the detail of both general equality laws and those governing education and employment in both German states.

A single-mindedness of purpose is already evident in the speed with which the early foundations for the GDR’s gender equality legislation were laid. Indeed, many new framework laws were initiated by the Soviet occupying forces to replace the old constitution, even before the GDR itself was founded. As a result, the legislative slate was wiped relatively clean and laws tended to complement one another, in keeping with the governing ideology. The Federal Government, on the other hand, was considerably more cautious and maintained much of the existing legislation. This naturally slowed down legislative change and resulted in more grey areas and greater internal contradiction. The fundamental declarations on equal rights are a good example of the different processes. Both statements were initially very similar, granting ‘equality under the law’ and protection against ‘discrimination as a result of gender’.[130] In the GDR, however, this declaration was immediately supported within Civil Law with a proclamation that, whilst the original Civil Code from 1896 would still be applied in general, ‘all laws and provisions that oppose equal rights for women are hereby revoked’.[131] The lack of such a statement in Federal legislation, on the other hand, meant that a range of discriminatory regulations were maintained, such as women not being allowed to work without their husband’s permission, although they were obliged to work if the husband required it.[132] Furthermore, the Federal Constitutional Court also interpreted the equal rights provision as a ‘legal norm’, which did not exclude the validity of conventional gender roles as accepted social practice:

‘Regulations for the protection of the mother will be permissible and the fact should be taken into account that the man will normally serve the family by employment outside the home and by making monetary provisions, while the woman will serve the family by looking after the household and caring for the children.[133]

The GDR’s guarantee of a right to work for all, combined with a duty to work as ‘an honourable duty for every able-bodied citizen’,[134] was also a strong catalyst in prompting legislation to promote changes in gender roles. The swift introduction of a principle of quotas to increase the number of women in a wide number of areas in education and employment was to prove particularly significant to women’s progress in ‘male’ fields. Federal politicians, on the other hand, tended until very recently to reject quotas on the basis that they are also essentially discriminatory. The CDU did not, for example, introduce a female quota until 1996 and even then it was only set at 1/3 of political posts.

The fact that women also had a duty to work (and usually an extensive week of approximately 44 hours) has naturally been the source of much suspicion in the West, given that forceful duty does not sit happily with any sense of real emancipation, opportunities and choice. There are, however, several points to be borne in mind with regard to this standpoint. Firstly, although there was reference in the GDR to women ‘lacking in consciousness’ if they did not work,[135] the absolute obligation to work was withdrawn by 1966 in the ‘Commentary on Family Law’ which enabled the wife to stay at home, even if there were no children. (This right was even extended to the husband by 1970.)[136] Furthermore, the lack of a duty to work in Federal legislation was linked to a lack of a right to work with the result that the intention to seek employment was only ‘assumed as a matter of principle in the case of men. In the case of women the obligations of housework and family [were] regarded as ‘personal circumstances’ which [drew] doubt on the intention to seek employment’.[137] Finally, there was also considerable pressure to work in the Federal Republic, with the establishment of a strong work ethic which has gone unquestioned as it was only applied to men.

A further indicator of the SED’s commitment to women is the detail of the legislation they passed. By the end of the 1960s they had created an elaborate network of resolutions, ordinances and laws which operated specifically to favour women and thus to promote their access to education and the employment market. Inherent in such legislation was also the need for an awareness of the range of obstacles faced by women and a realisation that assistance was needed to ‘help promote women’s position, particularly in achieving vocational qualifications...and to enable them to achieve more equal representation at management level’.[138] Thus, the 1967 ‘Ordinance for the Education of Women in Special Classes in Vocational Schools of the GDR’ provided, for example, that working housewives wishing to train as engineers or economists were to be given 20 hours study time per week at full pay. There was also the 1966 ‘Ordinance for the Education and Training for Women for Technical Professions and their Preparation for Appointments to Leading Positions’ and the ‘Resolution of the Council of Ministers on the Basic Policies and Measures for the Development and the Appointment of Women to Leading Positions in Political and Economic Life’ (1968). These laws also obliged employers to enter contracts with women guaranteeing employment according to qualifications gained during training periods.[139] Later the ‘Labour Law Code’ of 1977 confirmed in detail the SED’s intention to positively discriminate in favour of women to enable them ‘to assume an equal position in their work and in their professional development’.[140]

In the Federal Republic, on the other hand, there was very little provision for positive discrimination of women although the mid-1980s finally saw the beginnings of female quotas. The emergence of mass unemployment in the 1970s had meant that ‘training for women’ as a priority group was rapidly considered a luxury[141] and incentives which had been introduced for women were frequently cut. Indeed, west German women would only be accepted onto training courses if they could demonstrate that their domestic duties would not interfere with a minimum work commitment of 20 hours per week’[142] and ‘if her economic upkeep by the husband is not guaranteed’.[143] The Federal market economy’s need for a ‘reserve workforce’ also led to considerable legislation, promoting part-time work for women, thus ensuring their continued marginalisation.[144]

GDR legislation also reveals that the SED’s commitment to women did not shy from considerable financial support to assist women into the workplace. This was very apparent in many of the training initiatives and in the most generous maternity leave in any country at this time.[145] Then there were extensive measures taken to enable student mothers to continue studying and single mothers were granted significant financial help.[146] The greatest financial commitment, however, was required to relieve women with their child-rearing responsibilities, as the SED did not want female employment to result in a drop in the birth-rate. Above all, the policy of a comprehensive provision of state pre- and post-school child-care, with a guarantee of a full-time place for all children over six months, had considerable financial implications for the Government as parents were to pay just a nominal fee. In contrast, there was no equivalent guarantee of child-care provision for the under sixes in the West and certainly no subsidy. (See Section 2.3.4)

The detail of the GDR’s Family Law thus counters the common claim that the SED was blind to patriarchy within the family. The 1950 ‘Law for the Protection of the Mother and Child’, for example, immediately revoked ‘the hitherto prevailing right of the husband to make all decisions in all aspects of conjugal life’ and granted women equal rights with specific reference to decisions relating to children.[147] A comparison with the Federal Republic again shows the west German Government to be slower to take action. The retention of the Civil Code of 1896 also led to continued discrimination in the family including, for example, the recommendation that the mother should defer to the father where there was a difference of opinion.[148] It was not until the Family Law of 1977 that the official ‘Hausfrauenehe’ (housewife marriage) was replaced by a legal equal status of the partners,[149] although women’s housewife role was by then in any case an organisational feature of the Federal market economy.

The GDR’s new Civil Code in 1965 also clearly indicated a recognition that women’s new working role would necessitate changes in gender roles in the family as well:

‘Both spouses do their share in the education and care of the children and the conduct of the household. The relations of the spouses to each other are to be so shaped that the wife can combine her professional and social activities with those of motherhood. If the spouse who hitherto had not been in paid employment takes a job, or if a spouse decides to continue his (or her) education or engage in socially useful work, the other supports with comradely consideration and assistance the intentions of the spouse’.[150]

A later published commentary to the Family Law even emphasised that ‘the husband may not content himself with ‘assisting’. He must rather do his share, appropriate to the family’s situation, in the education and care of the children and in the conduct of the household’.[151] The obvious flaw in such proposals is that the SED had no means of enforcing specific behaviour in the private sphere of the family and could only hope that the high level of state paternalism would enable them, nevertheless, to exert an influence.

Federal Government policy was far-removed from such pressurising of husbands. To accommodate the role of the housewife marriage, Federal equality legislation pursued instead the Radical Feminists’ recognition of housework as an equivalent social contribution to paid employment. This led to an emphasis on the need for an equivalent financial compensation, as in a Federal court decision in 1970 on divorcees’ pension rights. The court found that ‘being a housewife is a professional activity that must be considered equal to that of a woman in business for herself’. West German courts also placed relatively high monetary values on housework, thus attempting to circumvent the crucial issue of financial dependence without sending women out to work.[152]

There are further indications that the western criticism that GDR legislation had no commitment to female equality is unfounded. Firstly, the vast detail of the legislation for women, in terms of combating specific problems faced by mothers working or studying, strongly suggests that there was input from a female perspective. This is supported by the establishment of a ‘Juristinnenkommission’ (Committee of Lawyers) within the DFD (‘der Deutsche Frauenverband Deutschlands’ - the German Women’s Association) in 1947 with the express purpose of ‘developing the legal framework for the new position of women in society’. There is also evidence that a substantial number of recommendations were made.[153] A more active female role is also supposed by laws such the ‘Labour Law Code’ in 1977 that explicitly required of companies and other employers that ‘women participate in the drafting of the company plan for the promotion of women’.[154] Secondly, there are also a number of laws which granted women empowerment and self-determination, without any obvious advantage to the SED government. The most significant of these was the very liberal abortion law which granted women abortion on demand and free of charge in the first twelve weeks of pregnancy,[155] a right fought for by feminists world-wide and not least in the Federal Republic. The abortion law in the old Federal Republic was much more restrictive and remained a source of feminist protest throughout its history.[156] There was no apparent motivation behind this law beyond granting women further rights to self-determination. Certainly easy abortion was an illogical step for a government seeking to increase its dwindling population, as revealed by the many incentives offered to families. Similarly the SED’s promotion of the family unit did not deter the simplification of divorce laws by 1955, which preceded a parallel development in the Federal Republic by 22 years.[157] Together with increased financial security relating to a salary, state subsidies, comprehensive child-care and the liberal abortion law, such legislation granted east German women considerable self-determination in organising family life. This is likely, for example to have contributed to the higher incidence of divorce suits filed by women in the GDR, s well as to the greater number of single mothers. (See Section 2.3.4 on Family Life) The SED also empowered women with its control of women’s image in the media, where bans on pornography and prostitution were initiated, aimed at reducing the level of sexual overtones in women’s image.[158] In contrast, the lack of similar action in the Federal Republic effectively condoned a further eroticisation of the presentation of women in the West German media.[159]

As many western critics have pointed out, the SED continued, however, to have difficulties with the ironically named ‘Muttipolitik’ legislation. These laws were aimed at assisting women with household responsibilities and granted rights such as extended maternity leave, reduced working hours and one day’s holiday a month as a ‘housework day’.[160] As such, they clearly contradicted the explicit statements in the family legislation noted earlier on male contribution to the household. There were some attempts to rectify this shortfall later with legislation that also granted men additional rights, such as permission to stay at home and look after the family as a househusband by 1970 and paternity leave by 1980.[161] This area remained, however, problematic as the vast majority of women continued to choose to be the one to stay at home. Although the GDR’s ‘Muttipolitik’ is blamed for emphasising women’s ‘mother role’, it is also noted, however, that the lower levels of such legislation in the Federal Republic did little to reduce women’s official responsibility for the home. On the contrary, attempts to grant household responsibilities ‘employment status’ had tended rather to consolidate it. Certainly paternity leave was not made available to men in the Federal Republic until 1986.[162]

In summary, gender equality undoubtedly remains a complex area for which to legislate. As Radical Feminists have pointed out, where attitudes have not changed there are simply too many gaps to plug. The evidence that an analysis of the legislation in the two states provides, however, clearly addresses western critiques that the SED’s regime was ‘gender-blind’ and ‘economy-driven’,[163] as its laws did clearly attempt to manipulate society considerably in women’s favour. Thus the GDR’s equality legislation has been revealed as prompt, comprehensive and single-minded, as well as expensive, in its aim to gain better representation for women in the workplace. Furthermore, policies promoting female employment were steadfastly retained despite the increasing underemployment of later years. Even in the early years, it seems very unlikely that the need for labour would have required such wide integration of women into all fields and levels, particularly not the effort and expense to integrate women into better paid and more prestigious areas of work . Federal policies, by comparison, continued to promote women’s role as a ‘reserve workforce’, even choosing to legislate for male guest-workers rather than to increase female employment.

The vast body of the SED’s legislation for women undoubtedly affected the ‘feminist’ environment that east German women experienced in the GDR. On the negative side, the SED’s ‘Emanzipation von oben’ had disenfranchised east German women quite deliberately and limited their independence. On the positive side, they had enjoyed, and become accustomed to, the support of an immense political machine which had provided them with a wide range of grants, quotas and special dispensations, ahead of the Federal Republic. This created an environment of innovation and change for east German women where they were presented with many new opportunities, particularly regarding their careers, which is likely to have affected their confidence and sense of importance, as well as their own views on female emancipation. This more supportive environment will also certainly have had considerable impact on the expectations that east German women brought with them to the Federal Republic. Certainly, they will have expected to meet with some similar state support for essentials such as maintaining their position in the workplace. Such expectations are significant in that they correspond to the perceived ‘state-dependence’ of other ex-GDR citizens (see also Chapter 3) and are also are a contributing factor to east German dissatisfaction with the Federal Republic (see Chapter 4)

2.3 Realities of emancipation in East and West

Given the long history of patriarchy, it is certainly no surprise that neither German government was able to establish absolute gender equality in their respective states in the forty years of their existence. Social attitudes and values are not easily influenced whether from ‘Emanzipation von oben’ or ‘von unten’. There can be no doubt that women in east Germany did indeed have a long way to go in terms of achieving true equality and had fallen short in practice of the equality they could demonstrate on paper. What should not, however, be ignored in this assessment is that, even where the absolute was not achieved, the level of progress made can differ. Furthermore, it should be acknowledged that any potential differences in achievement in the GDR and Federal Republic represent different socialising factors, different expectations and a potential source of dissatisfaction amongst east German women.

2.3.1 Emancipation in education

The SED’s determination to implement their equality programme was again visible in the speed with which it was put in place. Scruples in promoting positive discrimination and quotas witnessed in the Federal Republic into the 1990s, and indeed still today, were not experienced here and such policies were implemented relatively early on and the effects soon felt. Thus, for example, virtual parity had been achieved in the Sixth form (Erweiterte Oberschulen) by 1965 where 49.1 of Upper Sixth formers were female and this was to improve further so that by 1989, female students even had a convincing majority of 56.8%.[164] The very prompt progress at school level also resulted in more women having the opportunity to study at university, achieving parity amongst 25-30 year olds holding a higher education qualification by 1981.[165]

Efforts made to alter standard patterns of gender specific subject choice also bore results. By 1989, female students constituted 25.3% of all technical sciences students and technical areas were now the third most popular selection for female students.[166] Medicine, also a popular female choice, was in fourth place with a majority of 55.2% female students. Agriculture and mathematics/natural sciences were approximately joint fifth most popular and also with similar female representation of 46.4% and 46% respectively.

The Federal Government’s lesser commitment to female education in its legislation was matched by a much slower start for women in the West. Rolf Dahrendorf’s study in 1965 showed an education system which was failing to integrate women even at higher secondary levels.[167] Although girl pupils did catch up with, and even overtook, their male peers in secondary education in the 1960s and 1970s with higher participation and higher grades, representation in higher education remained relatively poor at 41.4 % in 1988 and just 37.9% of those qualifying at degree level.[168]

In contrast to the new more varied diet of female students in the GDR, there were no science subjects or agriculture in the top ten female study choices in the Federal Republic. Here women still concentrated on the humanities and 80% of teacher trainers in the humanities were female students.[169] Significantly it was also these areas that were hardest hit by growing unemployment amongst graduates and where there was the greatest mismatch between academic ‘preferences’ and career opportunities.[170]

The GDR’s record for women taking up vocational training was very strong, with the proportion of women with professional training reaching 87% in 1988.[171] This general comparative figure of total qualified women was particularly impressive compared to the West where 40% of women still held no vocational qualification at all in the late 1980s and even as late as 1984 only 75% of the 25-35 cohort had completed vocational training.[172] Furthermore, qualifications in the GDR were not all at the lowest level but were moving much closer to those of the men. Thus 58.5% of all women had qualifications as ‘Facharbeiter’ (skilled worker) compared to 62.7% of men and, under the east German equivalent of the dual system, women under 30 represented around 45% of the total.[173] Most significantly east German women comprised 40% of those with the highest vocational qualification of ‘Master’.[174] In comparison only 8% of the ‘Meisterprüfung candidates in the West were female despite generally better pass rates and grades up to that point.[175]

In the Federal Republic the transition from school to work remained fraught with problems relating to traditional role expectation and unemployment and there was a general mismatch of jobs and apprenticeships where they were unable to compete against men.[176] Developments such as the increase in the 1980s of female ‘Abitur’ (‘A’ level equivalent) candidates going into vocational training are probably indicative of a range of factors including gender discrimination amongst employees and a lack of confidence and ambition amongst women.[177] The choice of apprenticeship for western women also remained narrow. Almost a third of young women were training for just four professions, ‘hairdresser, office administrator, retail saleswoman and doctor’s receptionist’,[178] many of which were also at the top of the unemployment list.[179] The top ten apprenticeships for women in the 1980s still did not include any technical areas and were again those least likely to lead to management positions or a well-paid career.[180]

Although typical female and male apprenticeships also continued to exist in the GDR, the SED’s intention to broaden women’s choice of profession and to see women more widely represented in the working environment was gradually reflected in the wider selection of apprenticeships favoured by women. Alongside more common female professions, there were also more technical areas such as textile technology and animal husbandry. Data processing, technical drawing, railway administration, financial sales were also all in the top fifteen.[181] Six of the top female apprenticeships in the GDR were in technical areas.[182] Significantly, it was these new areas which offered east German women more potential in developing a successful career.

It is also significant that it was not so easy to discriminate against women training in traditional male areas in east Germany. Each company was obliged by the state to draw up a ‘Frauenförderungsplan’ (Plan for the Promotion of Women) to encourage women into all areas and levels of work. Companies could not, therefore, screen women out as was still regularly happening in the West.[183] In 1980 east German women were relatively highly represented in technical apprenticeships such as plant technician at 60.6%, electronics technician 49.8%, machine tools technician 28.4%, telecommunications engineer 25.1% and toolmaker 11.9%. Although there was progress in the 1970s and 1980s, comparative figures in the Federal Republic remained significantly lower e.g. by 1986 the percentage of women precision engineers was still only 9.8%, with 7.5% for communications engineers and 2.3% for toolmakers.[184]

Despite the considerable progress made by east German women, it is easy to see why the situation in east German education for women would attract criticism. Although they had broadened their horizons in choice of profession, they were still not able to compete with men in breadth or level of training opportunities e.g. 60% of all female trainees were still represented in just 16 of the professions.[185] It is important, however, that the advances that were made should not be dismissed. There is a wide range of statistics, which confirms that significant gains had been made in terms of level and breadth of the education being taken on by women in the GDR, particularly compared to women’s position in the Federal Republic.

It should also be recognised that, beyond the actual statistics on women in education and training, a number of secondary effects were likely to be taking place. The acceptance of women in a wider selection of fields is likely to have been growing and their presence there gradually taken for granted. Their own confidence in their abilities is also likely to have increased and a need to be educated. A study carried out in 1990 on ‘Education and Knowledge’, for example, indicated that east German women had attitudes to professional development which were not dissimilar to those held by men and this was borne out by the increasing number of women taking up a wider variety of education and training opportunities.[186]

2.3.2 Female Employment

The level of female employment in the GDR was one of the most vaunted of the SED’s ‘successes’ and at 91% of women, including apprentices and students, it impressed much of the western world which was still struggling to get significantly beyond the 50% mark. The details were also impressive: 70% of east German women were working full-time at over 40 hours per week.[187] Part-time work in the East also entailed significantly longer hours than in the West, given that 60% of part-timers worked 25-35 hours per week and 20%, even, worked 35 hours.[188] This section examines once more the benefits of relative progress made for women in the GDR, this time with the focus on actual employment. Perceived progress will be related not only to the high level of female employment, but also to the broader representation of women in the workplace including highly technical areas and their increased representation in management posts. A further significant aspect concerns the changing attitudes of politicians, employers and the women themselves to women taking on a wider range of working roles.

As in education, parity with men had not been achieved in the workplace. East German women clearly did not have the same breadth of careers the men had, nor were they adequately represented in top positions. Their average earnings had also remained at a lower level than men. Indeed emancipation in employment had also remained behind the levels of near parity achieved in some areas of education.[189] As in other fields, however, it is not in a comparison between men and women that progress in gender equality in the GDR is seen in its best light but rather in the contrast between East and West. In the Federal Republic the proportion of women working had only risen to 52% and this included a large proportion of part-time posts, some of which were relatively short hours,[190] already indicative of the more restricted representation in general. The relative merits of each system, nevertheless, need to be examined again in more detail to gain a more complete picture.

As the initial statistics indicate, there was then indeed considerable advance made for women in the workplace in the GDR. This is reflected both in the level and in the breadth of their representation. The progress made in the breadth of working activities of east German women says much for the SED’s faith in Marx’s ‘historic realism’, i.e. that women’s integration into work would not require any significant gender segregation into different professional areas.[191] In a comparison with the Federal Republic, east German women were to be found spread across more economic sectors with notably higher proportions in technical fields and in trade. Thus east German women constituted 50% of employees in the chemical and electronics sector,[192] 42.9% in the production of electrical appliances, 40.9% in the chemical industry and 29.5% in mechanical engineering and car production. They also constituted 37.3 % of rural workers.[193] There were particularly notable improvements in female representation in what had been traditional all-male areas so that the proportion of women working as computer and office equipment technicians reached 30.1%, electronic engineers 7.9% and measurement technicians and control engineers 25.9%. Women became butchers (35.3%), concrete workers (14%) and painters (7.7%) whereby the equivalent west German statistics were 0.4%, 0.1% and 1.3% respectively. East German women outnumbered the men as bakers (61%) and as data processing specialists (82.4%) compared to 1.9% and 37.8% in the West.[194] 50% of judges in the GDR were women compared to just 15% in the Federal Republic.[195]

Clearly, as critics have been quick to point out, there was, nevertheless, continued gender segregation and discrimination in employment in the Democratic Republic. The majority of women working in industry continued to work in administrative areas rather than in production itself, with 30% of all women in the services sector. Moreover, women employed in industry were generally concentrated in certain areas, above all the textile industry (69.9%), light industry (55.7%) the food industry (47.1%) and electronics (48.4%),[196] as well as in classic caring roles in the health sector (83%) and education (77%).[197] Some of these fields such as secretarial, sales, textile technology, teaching and medical professions were occupied almost solely by women.[198]

The comparison with west German women shows, however, that they tended to be restricted to even narrower areas of activity, which were inevitably those that were low-skilled and low-paid. They were, above all, represented in the growing tertiary sector (around 70% of all working women) but primarily in low-skilled administrative work and just 23.2% of qualified women worked in industry compared to the high proportion (65.3%) of qualified east German women.[199] Only 7% of women were rural workers. As in education and training, many areas had become gender specific, with 90% of working women employed in twelve occupational areas with specific weighting to office work (25% unskilled and 20% skilled) and sales (13%). Other ‘female’ occupations were in the Health Service, cleaning, teaching, textiles, bookkeeping, data processing, social work and unskilled labour. A survey in 1980 showed that in decision-making, controlling and research areas of work, west German women were outnumbered three to one. There can be no doubt, therefore, that east German women were significantly ahead in broadening their horizons.

Another significant indicator of women’s progress in the workplace in the GDR was the growth in the numbers of women in management positions at 31.5 % of total management. As early as the mid-1970s, statistics showed that 25% of all leading positions in the economy were held by women, with 33% in agriculture.[200] Women were naturally well represented in sectors of high female employment and thus constituted 44% of managers in light industry, 41.7% in post and telecommunications and 90% of bank managers.[201] These figures did, however, generally represent larger numbers in middle management, which tended to decrease the higher the position.[202] In education, for example, where women were also very well represented, they comprised 60% of all management posts at lower levels but this dropped to 38% in middle management and just 20% of top management positions. In trade (Handel) the figures fell even more at 60%, 20% and 5% respectively.[203]

Although women were still clearly strongly underrepresented, comparison with the Federal Republic again shows that east German women had made considerable progress. West German women had remained comparatively poorly placed as indicated in a 1981 survey where only 1% of top managers were women, with 10-15% of low-intermediate posts and 10% of those in public service.[204] Where west German women were concerned the management profile was also significant in that female managers were predominantly unmarried, or married late in life, after their position had been consolidated. Such statistics bear witness to the continuing burden of choice between family and career in the West.[205] In the East, successful women included the mothers of even very young children, demonstrating that SED policies had indeed begun to remove the family-related obstacles in women’s career path.[206]

What should not be overlooked in a comparison with the West was that east German women were not only generally obliged to work but also that they had a right to work with no risk of unemployment. They had a permanent place on the job market that did not fluctuate with economic demand despite the problems of underemployment and indeed it was not uncommon for women to work for just one company for the whole of their careers.[207] This career continuity gave them better promotion prospects, training opportunities, salaries and pensions.[208] The workforce in the Federal Republic was, on the other hand, blighted by unemployment. This was particularly a problem for west German women as they were typically the first to lose their jobs and pressure was exerted not to compete with male breadwinners. Job losses were also often high in areas of female employment such as office work, trade and retailing, printing and banking and also at the level that women tended to work, often simply as the result of new technology. Unemployment then created considerable uncertainty following a child-break, particularly as even in later years this averaged 8 years compared to six months to a year in the East. West German women either found it difficult to find work at all or were obliged to accept work at lower levels and/or part-time. As confidence was also low after a child-gap, this status quo was generally accepted. A vicious circle was created whereby a lack of job continuity meant that women were not considered as worthwhile training as men and then became trapped in low-level unskilled work.[209]

The fact that west German women also tended to resort to part-time work as a means of coping with poor child-care provision, half-day school and the inflated male wage, created further problems. In 1986, 55% of all working women in the Federal Republic were working part-time[210] and three out of four women returning to work wished to work part-time.[211] Of these 75% worked less than 24 hours per week.[212] Part-time work of this order marginalised women in the workforce and was a major reinforcer of the low status of women in the employment hierarchy. It concentrated women in a narrow employment band including waitressing, cleaning work and sales, although it had also begun to include other typical female sectors such as teaching. The disadvantages it brought with it were many, including working for small companies in outdated work environments, a lack of job security, poor promotion opportunities, loss of pension and unemployment benefit as well as poor pay and low level routine work. In particular the shift to part-time work, meant that women returners inevitably had to move down a notch or two and pension contributions were again affected.[213] For east German women, on the other hand, the general lack of jobs with shorter working hours and greater career continuity meant less time to spend with their children. The state assumed much responsibility for children but at the same time used it to further the socialisation of the next generation. In this way, east German women also forfeited a certain amount of control over their children.

West German women’s position on the job market was thus much that of the ‘reserve’ labour force described by Marx. They had the type of jobs which could be quickly excluded during recession as in 1970s when women quickly became half of the unemployed, although they were just 37% of the workforce[214] and they only entered the market in times of expansion. Even when labour was short, foreign labour was preferred, as in the ‘guestworker’ contracts in the 1960s and 1970s.

Where wage levels were concerned, east and west German women had very similar problems relating to the unequal spread of female employment in the various sectors and levels as well as the shorter hours and the lack of shift work. Although these disadvantages has receded more in the East, the average female wage in the GDR was still generally calculated at around 75% of the average male wage, although some calculations for women working in industry allowed for 88.2% by the end of the 1980s.[215] This is compared to 65% in the West and indeed only 40% in the agricultural sector.[216] These figures remain, however, somewhat problematic as it is unclear as to how they are calculated and whether they represent the hourly wage or monthly or weekly payments.

Although the gap in pay between men and women in the GDR was disappointing in the face of the government drive for equality, there seems to be less evidence of differential wages for the same or similar work. There is also some indication that women in the Federal Republic had more difficulty in upholding their right to equal pay as they generally had to present claims to the courts on an individual basis.[217] Despite the male /female differentiation, however, the full-time wage in the East meant that women were still able to function as family breadwinners, contributing towards 40% of the family income compared to just 18% in the West.[218] This financial independence is undoubtedly one of the most significant factors in the empowerment of east German women and will have certainly influenced their status in the family and in wider society and will have significantly influenced their relationships with men.

As in education and training, there was again a secondary effect in a growing acceptance of women working and indeed the development of a strong female work ethic, even amongst children who were ashamed if their mothers did not work.[219] There was also a more generally supportive environment for working women reflected, for example, in an infrastructure which grew beyond child-care to services such as the provision of home-delivery laundries, flexible shopping hours and catering services.[220] In the Federal Republic attitudes to female employment remained more traditional from the outset despite the significant initial role of the ‘Trümmerfrauen.’[221] There were also substantial reservations when it came to women directly competing with men as in a speech by the West Berlin Senator for Labour and Social Affairs:

‘It would make little sense to persistently further the direction of women into traditionally male professions, if thereby the extent of training possibilities for male youths were hampered’.[222]

The non-working housewife was thus still considered as the most appropriate means of family organisation and indeed represented the proud expression of the sharp rise in wealth for many west German families. In a comparative study in the 1970s only 36.5% of mothers of two children were in work compared to 73.76 % in the GDR[223] and as late as 1987 only 26% of mothers were working full-time which also compared unfavourably with other European countries. Shop times continued to be organised around daytime hours and women’s magazines continued to revolve around home-cooked meals and other household crafts.[224]

The vast difference of experience for east and west German women with regard to employment, expressed in such statistics, begins to reveal the substantial impact that government policies in education, training and employment had on the two German societies. East German women’s relationship with work began to evolve over time to what is often described as a more male orientation, whereby it became more important to them and essential to their self-esteem.[225] There was a gradual acceptance of female workers in all spheres and the working environment became less ‘male’-orientated as a result. This was often in prosaic ways such as the provision of female toilets but also included introducing more female values such as greater flexibility regarding family responsibilities. Male-female relationships were also undoubtedly affected as the balance of power shifted and women were able to prove themselves equally capable of carrying out technical work and managerial functions and earning a good salary.

In comparing experience in East and West, it is again undoubtedly the case that female representation in the workplace was greater in all fields in the GDR. This certainly brought some disadvantages in that working hours were long and the range of other commitments alongside work was also considerable. This ‘Doppelbelastung’ is thus inevitably likely to have impaired female performance in the workplace and affected their career decisions in a way that did not affect men. At the same time, the increased role in the workplace was also a very empowering experience for east German women. There were firstly the immense gains of financial independence which were linked to improved status in society and in the family and to women’s personal confidence and self-respect. Their role as a colleague, particularly in more technical areas and at higher levels, is then also likely to have gained women increased respect from men and have led to improved gender relationships.

2.3.3 Political representation

The political systems of the two German states were so significantly different that any comparison of political participation is substantially impaired. Political activity in the GDR always remained under government control in the GDR, whereby the SED put substantial pressure on its citizens to join political parties and participate in the unions and other political bodies but did not permit effective political participation in terms of the initiation of policies. Furthermore, the top positions of political responsibility in the Politburo and the Council of Ministers (Ministerrat) remained almost totally closed to women. With these reservations borne firmly in mind, general trends in female representation are still likely to reveal some important aspects of east German women’s development in the political arena.

The first significant trend was the strong proportional growth in female representation to around 35% of party membership and 50% of the unions[226] which in turn fed into increasing representation of east German women in local and national parliaments. Thus in 1988 the proportion of female representatives at ‘Kreis’ level was 44%, with 32% in the ‘Volkskammer’ (Lower House of Parliament - GDR). Comparable figures in the Federal Republic did not exceed 18% at any level, with just 15% in the ‘Bundestag’ (Lower House of Parliament – Federal Republic) in 1989, which was in fact lower than the percentage of women in the ‘Volkskammer’ in 1960.[227] Although men generally governed the important towns, east German women also held 30% of the prestigious posts of mayor by 1988. Within the unions they achieved parity as union delegates and in arbitration courts and there were even female majorities in other roles, such as shop stewards (61% in 1986).[228] Although moving up the political ladder in the GDR carried less real political responsibility than in the West, such promotion is significant for east German women in terms of their political motivation and the experience gained. The restricted political environment could be seen to be a limiting factor but the nature of GDR politics also, undoubtedly, required some advanced skills.

Although women did not progress easily to higher levels there were also posts granting women advisory roles in all policy-making bodies, including the Secretariat of the Central Committee. Whilst the potential to advise on aspects of policy is unlikely to have allowed for initiation, it did grant these women a level of influence and an insight into the political process, throughout the system. That some effective input was, also, possible, would appear to be borne out by the nature of much of the legislation itself, (See Section 2.2.) the precise detail and emphasis of which points to a female perspective.

Criticism from the West has naturally been directed at the lack of real participation in a patriarchal system that did not generally allow for female appointments to any top position. Whereas west German women had secured 3 of the 16 ministerial posts in 1989, there were still no women in the Politburo. Representation on the Central Committee was just 10% and at the end of the GDR’s political life Margot Honecker was the only female minister out of 43.[229] In this the SED clearly demonstrated the limits of their ‘Frauenpolitik’ (women’s policies) and the continued presence of an underlying patriarchal ethos.[230]

What the statistics have revealed, however, is that, despite the male domination of politics in the GDR, a significant number of east German women were involved in political organisations and held political posts at state and local levels. This may be dismissed, given, on the one hand, the pressure to participate and, on the other, the lack of access to political power. The strong proportional increase of women in many posts, including that of mayor, also tells, however, of a growing interest in and awareness of politics. Women were moving out of the home and this was another very strongly male-dominated area that they were moving into, increasing their political skills, confidence, awareness and motivation. It is also noteworthy that there was a high proportion of women involved in opposition groups in the 1980s. These groups were wide-ranging in their aims and not necessarily anti-socialist. They included groups working for peace, for a nuclear-ban, for more rights for single parents, for less discrimination against lesbians, for less propaganda in schoolbooks etc. Their work was similar to that of pressure groups in the West, such as organising demonstrations and petitioning ministers and demonstrated substantial political motivation as well as know-how.[231] (See Section 5.2) That any active opposition was naturally relatively limited in numbers, does not detract from the fact that female participation in opposition work during this period is estimated as high as 50%, a figure which is also generally quoted for the demonstrations of 1989.[232]

There is also evidence of some effects of east German women’s increasing role in politics, such as a rising interest amongst women in general in political issues which exceeded that of their western sisters, as confirmed by a post-unification survey in 1991. Thus, for example, 61% of east German women with a higher education claimed to be generally interested in politics compared to just 35% of the same group in the West. 30% of all east German women also stated that they spoke regularly about politics compared to just 16% of their west German peers.[233] A further example of the political motivation and abilities of east German women has been the relatively large number of east German women taking on political roles of responsibility since unification. In 1994, east German women gained 24% of local government seats compared to around 13% in the West and at state level they attained 30% of seats in 1994, compared to 23.6%. They also went beyond the lower levels where the SED had kept them, winning representation in Helmut Kohl’s Cabinet in the form of Angela Merkel and Claudia Nolte compared to a lack of female ministers from the West.[234] Statistics from the 1998 elections were also relatively positive with east German women gaining 57.1% of the PDS seats[235] and achieving higher representation amongst east German members at 38% than the equivalent representation of west German women at 29%.[236] (See also Section 5.5)

[...]


[1] Baureithel, U. (1994) ‘Vom schwierigen Umgang der deutsch-deutschen Frauenbewegung miteinander’ in Rohnstock, K., Stiefschwestern - Was Ost-Frauen und West-Frauen voneinander denken, Frankfurt am Main, Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, p 150.

[2] Alsop, R. (1994) ‘Women, Work and the Wende, Regional and Sectoral Perspectives, political and individual responses’ in Boa, E. and Wharton, J., Women and the Wende, Amsterdam, Rodopi, p 30.

[3] Süssmuth, R. and Schubert, H. (1992) Bezahlen die Frauen die Wiedervereinigung ? München, Piper Verlag, p 15.

[4] Piepgras, I. (1992) ‘Das Geld vom Amt reicht gerade für die Windeln’ , Berliner Zeitung, 28th July.

[5] Kolinsky, E. (1995) ‘Women after Muttipolitik’ in Between Hope and Fear, Keele, Keele University Press, p 177.

[6] Rohnstock, K. (1994) ‘Die verschwiegene Ost-Frau’, in Rohnstock, K., Stiefschwestern - Was Ost-Frauen und West-Frauen voneinander denken, Frankfurt am Main, Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, p 116.

[7] Ibid., pp 9-10.

[8] Die Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands - the Socialist Unity Party of Germany - the ruling communist party of the GDR.

[9] Those files that report on a phenomenon collated from a wide variety of sources, rather than those investigating an individual.

[10] Whilst it is acknowledged that east German women had access to western feminist theory via international media, their primary socialisation is, nevertheless, likely to have occurred within the framework of their own lives in the GDR.

[11] Watkins, S.A. (1994) Introducing Feminism, Maryland, Icon Books, p 3.

[12] Young, B. (1999) Triumph of the Fatherland - German Unification and the Marginalisation of Women, USA, The University of Michigan Press, p 27.

[13] Reader’s letter to ‘Für Dich’ Dec. 1989 in Kahlau, C. (1990) Aufbruch, Frauenbewegung in der DDR, München, Frauenoffensive, p 42.

[14] Hoppe, H. (1993) Frauenleben: Alltag, Aufbruch und neue Unsicherheiten, Bielefeld, Kleine Verlag, p 35.

[15] It is also noted, however, that east German women generally had access to western media and will have thus had some exposure to ‘western’ feminism on which to base their own opinions.

[16] Engels, F. (1978) The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State, Peking, Foreign Languages Press, p 65 and 95.

[17] Bryson, V. (1992) Feminist Political Theory, Basingstoke, Mcmillan, p 68.

[18] Engels, F. (1978) The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State, Peking, Foreign Languages Press, p 82-87.

[19] Engels further argued that there was a new equality developing in capitalist society as a result of increasing female labour in factory production, despite the appalling working conditions in Bryson, V. (1992) Feminist Political Theory, Basingstoke, Mcmillan, p 67.

[20] Weedon, C. (1988) Die Frau in der DDR, Oxford, Blackwell, p x.

[21] Such as the Equal Pay Law of 1946, the new Civil Code in 1949 which revoked all other laws and provisions opposing equal rights for women. There was also an ordinance which obliged employers to take women on at the level, for which they had qualified in Winkler, G. (1990) Frauenreport, Berlin, Die Wirtschaft, p 77.

[22] An Ordinance granting working women 20 hours per week study time at full pay to upgrade to become engineers in Winkler, G. (1990) Frauenreport, Berlin, Die Wirtschaft, p 79.

[23] Engels, F. (1978) The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State, Peking, Foreign Languages Press, p 181.

[24] Banks, O. (1986) Faces of Feminism, Oxford, Basil Blackwell, p 52-53.

[25] Bryson, V. (1992) Feminist Political Theory, Basingstoke Mcmillan, p74.

[26] ‘It is indeed one of the great accomplishments of socialism that in our country, that the equality of women under the laws and in life itself has been largely realized’ Erich Honecker.

[27] ‘Pazifistischer, pessimistischer und passiver’ Berliner Zeitung, 2nd July, 1999.

[28] Lila Offensive Pamphlet, 1989.

[29] Thus men could prevent their wives from working until 1977, women were only given an equal say in decisions effecting the children in 1980, and equal pay was not prescribed until 1982 - see Chapter 2.

[30] Ostner, I. (1993) ‘Slow Motion: Women, Work and the Family in Germany’ in Lewis, J., Women and Social Policies in Europe, Aldershot, Elgar , p 92.

[31] Bryson, V. (1992) Feminist Political Theory, Basingstoke Mcmillan, p 160-163.

[32] Ostner, I. (1993) ‘Slow Motion: Women, Work and the Family in Germany’ in Lewis, J., Women and Social Policies in Europe, Aldershot, Elgar, pp 97-98.

[33] Spender, D. (1985 ) For the Record - The Making and Meaning of Feminist Knowledge, London, Women’s Press, p 42.

[34] Nave-Herz, R. (1993) Die Geschichte der Frauenbewegung in Deutschland, Berlin, Zentrale für politische Bildung, p 72.

[35] Ibid., p 75.

[36] Ingrid Schmidt-Harzbach wrote that ‘women should...focus upon themselves, state why they are unhappy and work together with other women in the same situation’ to unite all women in ‘the sisterhood’, Ibid., p 71.

[37] Bryson, V. (1992) Feminist Political Theory, Basingstoke Mcmillan, pp 200-201.

[38] Thus forms are implemented such as Ingenieurin for a female engineer, ‘StudentInnen, meaning students where both male and female are present and ‘frau’ as the pronoun ‘one’ rather than the gender biased ‘man’ (man).

[39] Bacchi, C. (1990) Same Difference - Feminism and Sexual Difference, Sydney, Allen and Unwin,

p xi.

[40] Groups such as the ‘Sozialistischer Deutscher Studentenbund’ (Association of German Socialist Students) and in women’s groups such as the ‘Sozialistischer Frauenbund West-Berlin’.

[41] Nave-Herz, R. (1993) Die Geschichte der Frauenbewegung in Deutschland, Berlin, Zentrale für politische Bildung, p 73.

[42] The Housewives’ Union (Die Deutsche Hausfrauengewerkschaft) was founded in 1979 to specifically address the rights of women caring for children and elderly relatives at home and has fought, in particular, for women to have a level of pension paid for child-rearing (set at one year per child in 1986) and pay for other informal care arrangements Hausfrauengewerkschaft e.V. ‘Grundsatzprogramm’ 1996.

[43] This section will also refer to significant contributions from other Western authors as the feminist influences are essentially the same, despite the stronger patriarchal influence in the Federal Republic and the overriding aim is to gain a rounded image of east German identity from a western point of view.

[44] Metz-Göck, S. (1994) ‘Elisabeth - eine Machinenbauingenieurin in der DDR’ in Rohnstock, K., S tiefschwestern - was Ostfrauen und Westfrauen voneinander denken, Frankfurt am Main, Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, p 64.

[45] Rohnstock, K. (1994) ‘Die verschwiegene Ost-Frau’, in Rohnstock, K., S tiefschwestern - was Ostfrauen und Westfrauen voneinander denken, Frankfurt am Main, Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag,

p 116.

[46] Ibid., p 25.

[47] Sozialreport 2000 (2001) Berlin, Sozialwissentschaftliches Forschungszenrum Berlin-Brandenburg e.V, IV Quartal, pp 4-5.

[48] Süssmuth, R. and Schubert, H. (1992) Bezahlen die Frauen die Wiedervereinigung ? München, Piper Verlag, p 38.

[49] Studie ‘Lebenschance-Lebensangst’ des Landesfrauenrates Sachsen-Anhalt (1999) in Iser, D. and Bühler R. Versuchungenund kein bißchen Angst vor einflußreichen Männern, Oschersleben, Dr. Ziethen Verlag, p 263.

[50] Alsop, R. (1994) ‘Women, Work and the Wende, Regional and Sectoral Perspectives, political and individual responses’ in Boa, E. and Wharton, J., Women and the Wende, Amsterdam, Rodopi, p 28.

[51] Studie ‘Lebenschance-Lebensangst’ des Landesfrauenrates Sachsen-Anhalt (1999) in Iser, D. and Bühler, R. Versuchungenund kein bißchen Angst vor einflußreichen Männern, Oschersleben, Dr. Ziethen Verlag, 261.

[52] Krätschell, A. (1991) Lernen Mutter zu sein, Rheinische Merkur, 14th June.

[53] Sombrowsky, C. (1994) Zerbrochene Karriere - Ostdeutsche Frauen (und Männer) zwischen Anpassung und Widerstand, Magdeburg, Leitstelle für Frauenpolitik, Saxony Anhalt, pp 25-26.

[54] Dodds, D. and Allen-Thompson, P (1994) The Wall in my Backyard, Amherst, University of Massachussetts Press, p 47.

[55] Joost, A. (2000) Arbeit, Liebe, Leben -Eigene Arrangements, Königstein-Taunus, Ulrike Helmer Verlag, pp 200-201.

[56] Studie ‘Lebenschance-Lebensangst’ des Landesfrauenrates Sachsen-Anhalt (1999) in Iser, D. and Bühler, R. Versuchungenund kein bißchen Angst vor einflußreichen Männern, Oschersleben, Dr. Ziethen Verlag, 253.

[57] Sombrowsky, C. (1994) Zerbrochene Karriere - Ostdeutsche Frauen (und Männer) zwischen Anpassung Kund Widerstand, Magdeburg, Leitstelle für Frauenpolitik, Saxony Anhalt, p 63.

[58] Wesuls, E. (1994) ‘Wo wir doch jetzt die Freiheit haben’ in Rohnstock, K., S tiefschwestern - was Ostfrauen und Westfrauen voneinander denken, Frankfurt am Main, Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, p 25.

[59] Meier, U. (1994) ‘Die Allzuständigkeit der Frau für die Familienarbeit in Ost und West’ in Rohnstock, K., Stiefschwestern - was Ostfrauen und Westfrauen voneinander denken, Frankfurt am Main, Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, p 103.

[60] Rohnstock, K. (1994) ‘Die verschwiegene Ost-Frau’, in Rohnstock, K., S tiefschwestern - was Ostfrauen und Westfrauen voneinander denken, Frankfurt am Main, .Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag,

pp 115-116.

[61] Weedon, C. ( 1994) ‘Changing Subjectivities’ in Boa, E. and Wharton, J., Women and the Wende, Amsterdam, Rodopi, p 123.

[62] Schröter, U. (1995) ‘Ostdeutsche Frauen im Transformationsprozeß’ in Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte Bonn, die Zentrale für Politische Bildung, Vol 20, p 34.

[63] Joost, A. (2000) Arbeit, Liebe, Leben -Eigene Arrangements, Königstein-Taunus, Ulrike Helmer Verlag, p 142.

[64] Süssmuth, R. and Schubert, H. (1992) Bezahlen die Frauen die Wiedervereinigung ?, München, Piper Verlag, p 76.

[65] Wesuls, E. (1994) ‘Wo wir doch jetzt die Freiheit haben’ in Rohnstock, K., S tiefschwestern - was Ostfrauen und Westfrauen voneinander denken, Frankfurt am Main, Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag p 26 - she later writes (p 28) ‘Freedom...seems to be more an ideal potential, which enthuses everyone. "Of course the individual also has the freedom to go under" I am told without irony’.

[66] Helwerth, U. and Schwarz, G. (1995) Muttis und Emanzen - Feministinnen in Ost- und Westdeutschland, Frankfurt am Main, Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, p 15.

[67] Rohnstock, K. (1994) ‘Die verschwiegene Ost-Frau’, in Rohnstock, K., Stiefschwestern - Was Ost-Frauen und West-Frauen voneinander denken, Frankfurt am Main, Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag,

p 116.

[68] Hoecker, B. (1996) ‘Politischer Partizipation von Frauen im vereinigten Deutschland’ in Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte Bonn, die Zentrale für Politische Bildung, B21, vol 22, p 27.

[69] Helwerth, U. and Schwarz, G. (1995) Muttis und Emanzen - Feministinnen in Ost- und Westdeutschland, Frankfurt am Main, Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, p 29.

[70] Spiegel Spezial (1991) ‘Vereint aber Fremd’ in Spiegel, Hamburg, Vol 1, pp 46-66.

[71] What is omitted here, however, is the voice of the non-feminist Western women who may have a different outlook.

[72] Wiesenthal, H. (1998) ‘Post-Unification Dissatisfaction, or why are so many east Germans unhappy with the new political system ? German Politics¸ London, Frank Cass, vol 7 no.2, p 5.

[73] Süssmuth, R. and Schubert, H. (1992) Bezahlen die Frauen die Wiedervereinigung ? München, Piper Verlag, p 16.

[74] Joost, A. (2000) Arbeit, Liebe, Leben -Eigene Arrangements, Königstein-Taunus, Ulrike Helmer Verlag, p 12.

[75] Rueschemeyer, M. (1992) East German Women in Transition’ ¸ Cambridge (USA), Program for the Study of Germany and Europe Working Paper Series #1.7, p 9.

[76] Ibid., p 13.

[77] ‘Also the chronic labour shortage of an economy with a very low productivity rate made the participation of women more than a desirable goal. Their participation in the labor force was a necessity both for the economy and the family income’ Conrad, C.et al (1995 ) The Fall of the east German Birth Rate After Unification: Crisis or Means of Adaptation’, Cambridge (USA), Program for the Study of Germany and Europe- Working Paper Series # 5.6, p 3.

[78] Alsop, R. (1994) ‘Women, Work and the Wende, Regional and Sectoral Perspectives, political and individual responses’ in Boa, E. and Wharton, J., Women and the Wende, Amsterdam, Rodopi, p 32.

[79] Joost, A. (2000) Arbeit, Liebe, Leben -Eigene Arrangements, Königstein-Taunus, Ulrike Helmer Verlag, p 249.

[80] Hoppe, H. (1993) Frauenleben: Alltag, Aufbruch und neue Unsicherheiten, Bielefeld, Kleine Verlag, p 35.

[81] Joost, A. (2000) Arbeit, Liebe, Leben -Eigene Arrangements, Königstein-Taunus, Ulrike Helmer Verlag, p 12.

[82] Helwig, G. (1993) Frauen in Deutschland 1945-1992, Bonn, Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung,

p 9.

[83] Kolinsky, E. (1995) ‘Women after Muttipolitik’ in Between Hope and Fear, Keele, Keele University Press , p 177.

[84] Hoppe, H. (1993) Frauenleben: Alltag, Aufbruch und neue Unsicherheiten, Bielefeld, Kleine Verlag, p 12.

[85] Helwerth, U. and Schwarz, G. (1995) Muttis und Emanzen - Feministinnen in Ost- und Westdeutschland, Frankfurt am Main, Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, p 26.

[86] ‘The agenda of inequality in the GDR remained surprisingly unknown. Women and men believed they were treated equally’, Kolinsky E. (1995) ‘Women after Muttipolitik’ in Between Hope and Fear, Keele, Keele University Press, p 178.

[87] Jansen, M. (1994) ‘Keineswegs nur westliche Dominanz-zum Verhältnis der beiden Frauenbewegungen’ in Rohnstock, K., Stiefschwestern - Was Ost-Frauen und West-Frauen voneinander denken, Frankfurt am Main, Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, p 79.

[88] Kolinsky, E. (1995) ‘Women after Muttipolitik’ in Between Hope and Fear, Keele, Keele University Press p 177 compare Hoppe, H. (1993) Frauenleben: Alltag, Aufbruch und neue Unsicherheiten, Bielefeld, Kleine Verlag, p 12.

[89] Seidenspinner G. (1994) Frau sein in Deutschland., München, DJI Verlag, p 35.

[90] Baureithel, U. (1994) ‘Vom schwierigen Umgang der deutsch-deutschen Frauenbewegung miteinander’ in Rohnstock, K., Stiefschwestern - was Ostfrauen und Westfrauen voneinander denken, Frankfurt am Main, Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, p 153.

[91] Helwig, G. (1993) Frauen in Deutschland 1945-1992, Bonn, Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung, p 9.

[92] Baureithel, U. (1994) ‘Vom schwierigen Umgang der deutsch-deutschen Frauenbewegung miteinander’ in Rohnstock, K., Stiefschwestern - was Ostfrauen und Westfrauen voneinander denken, Frankfurt am Main, Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, p 152.

[93] Berg-Peer, J. (1994) ‘West-Ost-Briefwechsel’ in Rohnstock, K., Stiefschwestern - was Ostfrauen und Westfrauen voneinander denken, Frankfurt am Main, Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, p 165.

[94] The author continues ‘The men in the GDR may have pushed them aside less as there was generally less potential for development and less competition.and gender roles were more established but it doesn’t mean that society and people’s behaviour weren’t patriachal’, Jansen M. (1994) ‘Keineswegs nur westliche Dominanz-zum Verhältnis der beiden Frauenbewegungen’ in Rohnstock, K., Stiefschwestern - Was Ost-Frauen und West-Frauen voneinander denken, Frankfurt am Main, Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, p 83.

[95] Baureithel, U. (1994) ‘Vom schwierigen Umgang der deutsch-deutschen Frauenbewegung miteinander’ in Rohnstock, K., Stiefschwestern - was Ostfrauen und Westfrauen voneinander denken, Frankfurt am Main, Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, p 152.

[96] Berg-Peer, J. (1994) ‘West-Ost-Briefwechsel’ in Rohnstock, K., Stiefschwestern - was Ostfrauen und Westfrauen voneinander denken, Frankfurt am Main, Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, p 165.

[97] ‘My east German colleagues still find it ‘ridiculous’ when I insist on gender-specific splitting or the capital "I". They think that the right of feminine existence in the language is superfluous where it is achieved in reality’, Baureithel, U. (1994) ‘Vom schwierigen Umgang der deutsch-deutschen Frauenbewegung miteinander’ in Rohnstock, K., Stiefschwestern - was Ostfrauen und Westfrauen voneinander denken, Frankfurt am Main, Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, pp 152-3.

[98] Jansen, M. (1994) ‘Keineswegs nur westliche Dominanz-zum Verhältnis der beiden Frauenbewegungen’ in Rohnstock, K., Stiefschwestern - Was Ost-Frauen und West-Frauen voneinander denken, Frankfurt am Main, Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, p 79.

[99] Rueschemeyer, M. (1992) East German Women in Transition’ ¸ Cambridge (USA), Program for the Study of Germany and Europe Working Paper Series #1.7, p 13.

[100] Baureithel, U. (1994) ‘Vom schwierigen Umgang der deutsch-deutschen Frauenbewegung miteinander’ in Rohnstock, K., Stiefschwestern - was Ostfrauen und Westfrauen voneinander denken, Frankfurt am Main, Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, p 150.

[101] Kolinsky, E. (1995) ‘Women after Muttipolitik’ in Between Hope and Fear, Keele, Keele University Press, p 177.

[102] ‘Arbeitsame Frauen in Ostdeutschland’ (1997) IWD Informationsdienst, no. 19, 8th May, p 3.

[103] Baureithel, U. (1994) ‘Vom schwierigen Umgang der deutsch-deutschen Frauenbewegung miteinander’ in Rohnstock, K., S tiefschwestern - was Ostfrauen und Westfrauen voneinander denken, Frankfurt am Main, Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, p 153.

[104] Zauner, M. (1994) ‘Verluste oder: Was habe ich von meiner neuen Stiefschwester ?’ in Rohnstock, K., S tiefschwestern - was Ostfrauen und Westfrauen voneinander denken, Frankfurt am Main, Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, p 37.

[105] Rueschemeyer, M. (1992) East German Women in Transition’ ¸ Cambridge (USA), Program for the Study of Germany and Europe Working Paper Series #1.7, p 8.

[106] Kaiser, H. (1994) ‘Kinder waren uns so fremd wie Wesen vom anderen Stern’ in Rohnstock, K., S tiefschwestern - was Ostfrauen und Westfrauen voneinander denken, Frankfurt am Main, Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, pp 39-40.

[107] Hoppe, H. (1993) Frauenleben: Alltag, Aufbruch und neue Unsicherheiten, Bielefeld, Kleine Verlag, p 201.

[108] Baureithel, U. (1994) ‘Vom schwierigen Umgang der deutsch-deutschen Frauenbewegung miteinander’ in Rohnstock, K., Stiefschwestern - was Ostfrauen und Westfrauen voneinander denken, Frankfurt am Main, Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, p 153.

[109] Helwerth , U. and Schwarz, G. (1995) Muttis und Emanzen - Feministinnen in Ost- und Westdeutschland, Frankfurt am Main, Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, p 10.

[110] Maier, U. (1994) ‘Die Allzuständigkeit der Frau für die Familienarbeit in Ost und West’ in Rohnstock, K., Stiefschwestern - was Ostfrauen und Westfrauen voneinander denken, Frankfurt am Main, Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, p 101.

[111] Lieber, D. (1994) ‘West-Ost-Briefwechsel’ in Rohnstock, K., Stiefschwestern - was Ostfrauen und Westfrauen voneinander denken, Frankfurt am Main, Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, pp 170-172.

[112] Sombrowsky, C. (1994) Zerbrochene Karriere - Ostdeutsche Frauen (und Männer) zwischen Anpassung und Widerstand, Magdeburg, Leitstelle für Frauenpolitik, Saxony Anhalt, p 171.

[113] Joost, A. (2000) Arbeit, Liebe, Leben -Eigene Arrangements, Königstein-Taunus, Ulrike Helmer Verlag, p 34.

[114] Diehl, E. (1994) ‘An die Innen gewöhnen - Sprach als Ausdruck gesellschaftlicher Realität’ in Rohnstock, K., Stiefschwestern - was Ostfrauen und Westfrauen voneinander denken, Frankfurt am Main, Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, p 133.

[115] Dahn, D. (1994) ‘Ein Tabu bei West-Frauen’ in Rohnstock, K., Stiefschwestern - was Ostfrauen und Westfrauen voneinander denken, Frankfurt am Main, Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, p 12.

[116] Baureithel, U. (1994) ‘Vom schwierigen Umgang der deutsch-deutschen Frauenbewegung miteinander’ in Rohnstock, K., Stiefschwestern - was Ostfrauen und Westfrauen voneinander denken, Frankfurt am Main, Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, p 152.

[117] Helwerth, U. and Schwarz, G. (1995) Muttis und Emanzen - Feministinnen in Ost- und Westdeutschland, Frankfurt am Main, Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, p 24.

[118] Ibid., p 24.

[119] Baureithel, U. (1994) ‘Vom schwierigen Umgang der deutsch-deutschen Frauenbewegung miteinander’ in Rohnstock, K., Stiefschwestern - was Ostfrauen und Westfrauen voneinander denken, Frankfurt am Main, Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, p 148.

[120] Helwerth, U. and Schwarz, G. (1995) Muttis und Emanzen - Feministinnen in Ost- und Westdeutschland, Frankfurt am Main, Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, p 24.

[121] Sombrowsky, C. (1994) Zerbrochene Karriere - Ostdeutsche Frauen (und Männer) zwischen Anpassung und Widerstand, Magdeburg, Leitstelle für Frauenpolitik, Saxony Anhalt, p 171.

[122] Lieber, D. (1994) ‘West-Ost-Briefwechsel’ in Rohnstock, K., S tiefschwestern - was Ostfrauen und Westfrauen voneinander denken, Frankfurt am Main, Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, pp 170-172.

[123] Ibid., p 172.

[124] Wesuls, E. (1994) ‘Wo wir doch jetzt die Freiheit haben’ in Rohnstock, K., Stiefschwestern - was Ostfrauen und Westfrauen voneinander denken, Frankfurt am Main, Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, p 29.

[125] Helwerth, U. and Schwarz, G. (1995) Muttis und Emanzen - Feministinnen in Ost- und Westdeutschland, Frankfurt am Main, Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, p 31.

[126] Kaiser, H. (1994) ‘Kinder waren uns so fremd wie Wesen vom anderen Stern’ in

Rohnstock, K., Stiefschwestern - was Ostfrauen und Westfrauen voneinander denken, Frankfurt am Main, Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, p 148.

[127] Helwerth, U. and Schwarz, G. (1995) Muttis und Emanzen - Feministinnen in Ost- und Westdeutschland, Frankfurt am Main, Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, p 20.

[128] Wesuls E. (1994) ‘Wo wir doch jetzt die Freiheit haben’ in Rohnstock, K., S tiefschwestern - was Ostfrauen und Westfrauen voneinander denken, Frankfurt am Main, Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, p 26.

[129] Rinke, A. (1994) ‘Wende-Bilder: Television Images of Women in Germany’ in Boa, E. and Wharton, J., Women and the Wende, Amsterdam, Rodopi, p 125.

[130] GDR law prescribed that ‘all citizens are equal under the law and that no one is to be given preference or be discriminated against because of their gender’ (Artikel 20) whereas the ‘Grundgesetz’ claimed that ‘men and women are to be equal under the law, that they have equal rights’ and that ‘no-one is to be discriminated against because of their gender’ (Article 3).

[131] Constitution of the GDR (1949) Article 7, Paragraph 2.

[132] Civil Code 1896, Paragraphs 1356 - 1360.

[133] Bundesverfassungsgericht - 18.12.53.

[134] Constitution of the GDR, Article 24.

[135] Shaffer, H. (1981 ) Women in Two Germanies, a comparative study of a Socialist and a Non-socialist Society, New York, Pergamon, p 15.

[136] Familiengesetzbuch der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik in ‘Gesetzblatt der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik (no 1, 1966) p 55 and 1970, p 60.

[137] Amtliche Nachrichten der Bundesanstalt für Arbeit 9, 1981:1029.

[138] Shaffer, H. (1981 ) Women in Two Germanies, a comparative study of a Socialist and a Non-socialist Society, New York, Pergamon, p 20.

[139] Ibid., p 21.

[140] Das Arbeitsgesetzbuch der DDR in ‘Gesetzblatt’ (1977), Part 1 no 18, pp 71-81.

[141] Kolinsky, E. (1989) Women in Contemporary Germany, Oxford, Berg, p 57.

[142] Arbeitsförderungskonsolidierungsgesetz, 1 Jan. 1982.

[143] Amtliche Nachrichten der Bundesanstalt für Arbeit 9, 1981:1029.

[144] Thus the ‘Beschäftigungsförderungsgesetz’ (Employment Promotion Act) of 1982 legislated for the protection of job-share positions.

[145] ‘After 1976, women could take one year after the birth of their second child (26 weeks after the first) and receive benefits equivalent to 67%-90% of their net income and this was extended to the first child by 1987 with full pay and increased to 18 months after the birth of the third child’ in Mohrmann, R. (1992) ‘Weibliche Lebensmuster in Ost und West’ in Geiling-Maul, B. Frauenalltag, Weibliche Lebenskultur in beiden Teilen Deutschlands, Köln, Bund Verlag, p 34.

[146] Ibid., p 36.

[147] Shaffer, H. (1981 ) Women in Two Germanies, a comparative study of a Socialist and a Non-socialist Society, New York, Pergamon, p 31.

[148] Kolinsky, E. (1989) Women in Contemporary Germany, Oxford, Berg, p 27.

[149] Shaffer, H. (1981 ) Women in Two Germanies, a comparative study of a Socialist and a Non-socialist Society, New York, Pergamon, p 29.

[150] Familiengesetzbuch der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik in ‘Gesetzblatt der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik (1966), no 1, p 43.

[151] Shaffer, H. (1981 ) Women in Two Germanies, a comparative study of a Socialist and a Non-socialist Society, New York, Pergamon, p 31.

[152] In 1977 it was valued at DM 2,300 per month in Shaffer, H. (1981 ) Women in Two Germanies, a comparative study of a Socialist and a Non-socialist Society, New York, Pergamon, p 31.

[153] Hildebrandt, K. (1994) ‘Historischer Exkurs zur Frauenpolitik der SED’ in Bütow, B. and Stecker, H., EigenArtige Ostfrauen - Frauenemanzipation in der DDR und den neuen Bundesländern, Bielefeld, Kleine Verlag, p 17.

[154] Das Arbeitsgesetzbuch der DDR in ‘Gesetzblatt’ (1977), Part 1 no 18, pp 71-81.

[155] Neues Deutschland (1972) 10th March.

[156] Intervention was also permitted up to twelve weeks but only where there was adequate reason seen to be provided on ethical, eugenic, medical or social grounds and this had to be approved by 2 doctors, Süssmuth, R. and Schubert, H. (1992) Bezahlen die Frauen die Wiedervereinigung ? Munich, Piper Verlag, p 132.

[157] ‘The guilty party would not be entitled to any of the marital property, maintenance or custody of the children’ in Kolinsky, E. (1989) Women in Contemporary Germany, Oxford, Berg, p 52.

[158] Dölling, I. (1993) ‘Gespaltenes Bewußtsein - Frauen- und Männerbilder in the DDR’ in Frauen in Deutschland 1945-1992, Bonn, Bundeszentrale für Politische Bildung, pp 31-33.

[159] As in a west German advertisement for electronic equipment: ‘Toys for men...like women they are manageable, can be played with over and over and are always at the ready’ in Cornelissen, W. (1993) ‘Traditionelle Rollenmuster - Frauen- und Männerbilder in den westdeutschen Medien’ in Frauen in Deutschland 1945-1992, Bonn, Bundeszentrale für Politische Bildung, pp 53-67.

[160] ‘In 1972, mothers with 3 children were granted a shorter working week of 40 hours with full pay (43 3/4 hours was considered the norm) to encourage them to continue to work full-time and in 1977, this was altered to include mothers with 2 children’ in Winkler, G. (1990) Frauenreport ‘90, Berlin, die Wirtschaft, p 81.

[161] Winkler, G. (1990) Frauenreport ‘90, Berlin, die Wirtschaft, p 81.

[162] Thus maternity leave were increased to 14 weeks and but not to one year until 1986 and benefits were paid at a flat rate and still assumed the support of the partner, Kolinsky E. (1989) Women in Contemporary Germany, Oxford, Berg, p 71.

[163] Shaffer, H. (1981 ) Women in Two Germanies, a comparative study of a Socialist and a Non-socialist Society, New York, Pergamon, p 15.

[164] Winkler, G. (1990) Frauenreport ‘90, Berlin, die Wirtschaft, p 41.

[165] ‘6.7% of women gained a degree in the GDR which was lower than in the Federal Republic at 10% but as the comparison is similar for men, this has generally been attributed to the increasing pressure of unemployment in the eighties’ in Winkler, G. (1990) Frauenreport ‘90, Berlin, die Wirtschaft, p 42.

[166] Compare the figure of 15.8% in 1971, Ibid., p 43.

[167] Kolinsky, E. (1989) Women in Contemporary Germany, Oxford, Berg, p 62.

[168] Kolinsky, E. (1995) Women in 20th century Germany, Manchester, Manchester University Press,

p 17 and ‘In 1960 they represented only 17% of total students and in 1971 only 3% of the female cohort were in higher education compared to 12% of the male cohort’ in Naumann, J. (1980) ‘Entwicklungstendenzen des Bildungswesens der Bundesrepublik Deutschland im Rahmen wirtschaftlicher und demographischer Veränderungen’ in Bildung in der Bundesrepublik, Max Planck Institut für Bildungsforschung, Reinbek, Rowohlt, p 21 and ‘Unemployment improved this figure to 10% by 1981 but female students still did not managed to close the gap significantly as the male cohort had also increased to 17%’ in Kolinsky, E. (1989) Women in Contemporary Germany, Oxford, Berg, p 108.

[169] Mertens, L. (1988) Die Entwicklung des Frauenstudiums in Deutschland Paper at ‘Gesellschaft für Deutschlandforschung, Tutzing, p 5.

[170] Kolinsky, E. (1989) Women in Contemporary Germany, Oxford, Berg, p 133.

[171] Süssmuth, R. and Schubert, H. (1992) Bezahlen die Frauen die Wiedervereinigung ? Munich, Piper Verlag, p 10.

[172] Kolinsky, E. (1989) Women in Contemporary Germany, Oxford, Berg, p 134.

[173] Winkler, G. (1990) Frauenreport ‘90, Berlin, die Wirtschaft, p 81.

[174] Ibid., p 83.

[175] Kolinsky, E. (1989) Women in Contemporary Germany, Oxford, Berg, p 124.

[176] ‘Women continued to be disadvantaged in that the transition from education to work was more difficult for them, with a success rate of just 54% compared to 71% and making up a total of 37-38% on the dual system’ in Ibid., p 116.

[177] ‘70% of all passes with ‘Abitur’ entry were women and 25% of women with ‘Abitur made this move’ in Winkler, G. (1990) Frauenreport ‘90, Berlin, die Wirtschaft, p 46.

[178] Süssmuth, R. and Schubert, H. (1992) Bezahlen die Frauen die Wiedervereinigung ? Munich, Piper Verlag, p 30.

[179] Vocational Training Report 1986.

[180] Kolinsky, E. (1989) Women in Contemporary Germany, Oxford, Berg, p 20.

[181] Winkler, G. (1990) Frauenreport ‘90, Berlin, die Wirtschaft, p 47.

[182] Joester, A. and Schöningh, I. (1992) So nah beieinander und doch so fern. Frauenleben in Ost und West, Pfaffenweiler, Centaurus Verlaggesellschaft, p 67.

[183] Weedon, C. (1988 ) Die Frau in der DDR, Oxford, Basil Blackwell Ltd, p xv .

[184] Winkler, G. (1990) Frauenreport ‘90, Berlin, die Wirtschaft, p 44-45. These figures did, however, fall later under Honecker’s more conservative rule.

[185] Joester, A. and Schöningh, I. (1992) So nah beieinander und doch so fern. Frauenleben in Ost und West, Pfaffenweiler, Centaurus Verlaggesellschaft, p 13.

[186] Bertram, B. (1993) ‘Zur Entwicklung der sozialen Geschlechterverhältnisse in den neuen Bundesländern’ in Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte, Bonn, die Zentrale für Politische Bildung, p 28.

[187] Süssmuth, R. and Schubert, H. (1992) Bezahlen die Frauen die Wiedervereinigung ? München, Piper Verlag, p 43.

[188] Winkler, G. (1990) Frauenreport ’90, Berlin, die Wirtschaft, pp 83-84.

[189] ‘In 1990 only 75% of women were working in positions commensurate with their level of qualifications. but this figure, nevertheless, remains comparatively favourable to the Federal Republic’ in Gensior, S. (1991) Berufliche Weiterbildung für Frauen in den neuen Ländern, Bonn, Bundesministerium für Bildung und Wissenschaft - Referat Öffentlichkeitsarbeit 11, p 7.

[190] This was, nevertheless, good progress compared to 15 years in the fifties and sixties in Hellmich, A. Frauen zwischen Familie und Beruf, Ministerium für Jugend, Familie, Frauen und Gesundheit, Stuttgart, Kohlhammer, p 11.

[191] Weedon, C. (1988 ) Die Frau in der DDR, Oxford, Basil Blackwell Ltd, p 45.

[192] Mohrmann, R. (1992) ‘Weibliche Lebensmuster in Ost und West’ in Geiling-Maul, B. Frauenalltag- Weibliche Lebenskultur in beiden Teilen Deutschlands, Köln, Bund Verlag, p 38.

[193] Gensior, S. (1991) Berufliche Weiterbildung für Frauen in den neuen Ländern, Bonn, Bundesministerium für Bildung und Wissenschaft - Referat Öffentlichkeitsarbeit 11, p 20.

[194] Shaffer, H. (1981 ) Women in Two Germanies, a comparative study of a Socialist and a Non-socialist Society, New York, Pergamon, p 73.

[195] Geißler, R. (1996) Die Sozialstruktur Deutschlands, Opladen, Westdeutscher Verlag GmbH, p 246.

[196] Süssmuth, R. and Schubert, H. (1992) Bezahlen die Frauen die Wiedervereinigung ? Munich, Piper Verlag, p 150.

[197] Gensior, S. (1991) Berufliche Weiterbildung für Frauen in den neuen Ländern, Bonn, Bundesministerium für Bildung und Wissenschaft - Referat Öffentlichkeitsarbeit 11, p 20.

[198] Joester, A. and Schöningh, I. (1992) So nah beieinander und doch so fern. Frauenleben in Ost und West, Pfaffenweiler, Centaurus Verlaggesellschaft, p 14.

[199] Although this also reflects the bias of a less advanced economy in Gensior, S. (1991) Berufliche Weiterbildung für Frauen in den neuen Ländern, Bonn, Bundesministerium für Bildung und Wissenschaft - Referat Öffentlichkeitsarbeit 11, p 18.

[200] Shaffer, H. (1981 ) Women in Two Germanies, a comparative study of a Socialist and a Non-socialist Society, New York, Pergamon, p 78.

[201] Süssmuth, R. and Schubert, H. (1992) Bezahlen die Frauen die Wiedervereinigung ? Munich, Piper Verlag, p 11.

[202] Joester, A. und Schöningh, I. (1992) So nah beieinander und doch so fern. Frauenleben in Ost und West, Pfaffenweiler, Centaurus Verlaggesellschaft, p 15.

[203] Winkler, G. (1990) Frauenreport ‘90, Berlin, die Wirtschaft, p 94.

[204] Bernadoni, C. and Werner, V. (1987) Ohne Seil und Haken. Frauen auf dem Weg nach oben, Munich, Saur, p 52.

[205] ‘Ohne Diplom läuft wenig’ (1997) IWD - Informationsdienst, 8th May.

[206] Shaffer, H. (1981 ) Women in Two Germanies, a comparative study of a Socialist and a Non-socialist Society, New York, Pergamon, p 80.

[207] A survey by the women’s group ‘Courage eV’ in Berlin in the early nineties has shown that around 40% of women worked between 5-15 years for same company and 13% for between 15-30 although this was not necessarily the same post. This was typical of the fairly regimented attitude to work in the Democratic Republic where trainees were matched to posts systematically rather than individually. Interview with Frau Dr Engel of ‘Courage e.V’ in April, 1994.

[208] Winkler, G. (1990) Frauenreport ‘90, Berlin, die Wirtschaft, p 80.

[209] Gensior, S. (1991) Berufliche Weiterbildung für Frauen in den neuen Ländern, Bonn, Bundesministerium für Bildung und Wissenschaft - Referat Öffentlichkeitsarbeit 11, p 13.

[210] Compare statistic of 33% in Kolinsky, E (1989) Women in Contemporary Germany, Oxford, Berg,

p 174.

[211] Jenkins, E. (1984) ‘Teilzeitarbeit: Eine Sackgasse’ in Seidenspinner, G. et al, ‘Vom Nutzen weiblicher Lohnarbeit ’, Opladen, Leske and Buderich, p 57.

[212] Shaffer, H. (1981 ) Women in Two Germanies, a comparative study of a Socialist and a Non-socialist Society, New York, Pergamon, p 69.

[213] Alsop, R. (1994) ‘Women, Work and the Wende, Regional and Sectoral Perspectives, political and individual responses’ in Boa, E. and Wharton, J., Women and the Wende ¸ Amsterdam, Rodopi, p 34.

[214] Shaffer, H. (1981 ) Women in Two Germanies, a comparative study of a Socialist and a Non-socialist Society, New York, Pergamon, p 62.

[215] ‘The GDR did not produce any such statistics on male and female wages’ in Shaffer H. (1981 ) Women in Two Germanies, a comparative study of a Socialist and a Non-socialist Society, New York, Pergamon, p 102.

[216] Ibid., p 97.

[217] Winkler, G. (1990) Frauenreport ‘90, Berlin, die Wirtschaft, p 92.

[218] Meier, U. (1992) ‘Die Allzuständigkeit der Frau für die Familienarbeit in Ost und West’ in Rohnstock, K., Stiefschwestern - Was Ost-Frauen und West-Frauen voneinander denken, Frankfurt am Main, Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, p 101.

[219] One women admits that her ‘two older children were ever so glad that they were able to say to their class mates, ‘My mother has a job too’ in Shaffer, H. (1981 ) Women in Two Germanies, a comparative study of a Socialist and a Non-socialist Society, New York, Pergamon, p 60.

[220] Ibid., p 61.

[221] ‘Even if the employment of women cannot be avoided in the present adverse circumstances, it remains true that the employment of women in construction is new to Germany and is in principle undesirable because the work demands a high degree of physical strength and holds the danger of psychological coarseness. It can only be justified bcause of the current labour shortage and because it can be expected to speed up reconstruction and help to improve general living conditions’ Office of Employment Circular June 1946 Westfalen Lippe in Kolinsky, E. (1989) Women in Contemporary Germany, Oxford, Berg, p 34.

[222] West Berlin Senator for Labour and Social Affairs in Shaffer, H. (1981 ) Women in Two Germanies, a comparative study of a Socialist and a Non-socialist Society, New York, Pergamon, p 65.

[223] Ibid., p 61.

[224] Ibid., p 61.

[225] Institut für Demoskopie Allensbach (1993) Frauen in Deutschland- Lebensverhältnisse, Lebensstile und Zukunftswerwartungen, Köln, Bund Verlag, p 33.

[226] 26% in the SPD, 24% in the FDP 23% in the CDU (1/3 of new members) and just 14% in the CSU were women which was still an improvement from the fifties and sixties when female membership was generally around 15%. Trade union membership inthe West was just 25%, Geißler, R. (1996) Die Sozialstruktur Deutschlands, Opladen, Westdeutscher Verlag GmbH, p 249.

[227] Ibid., p 250.

[228] Shaffer, H. (1981 ) Women in Two Germanies, a comparative study of a Socialist and a Non-socialist Society, New York, Pergamon, p 64.

[229] Geißler, R. (1996) Die Sozialstruktur Deutschlands, Opladen, Westdeutscher Verlag, pp 249-252

[230] Ibid., p 251.

[231] Kenawi, S. (1995) Frauengruppen in der DDR der 80er Jahren, Berlin, Grauezone, p 2.

[232] Letter from Kenawi, S. (21.12.98), Author of (1995) Frauengruppen in der DDR der 80er Jahren, Berlin, Grauezone.

[233] Institut für Demoskopie Allensbach (1993) Frauen in Deutschland- Lebensverhältnisse, Lebensstile und Zukunftswerwartungen, Köln, Bund Verlag, p 73.

[234] Hoecker, B. (1996) ‘Politischer Partizipation von Frauen im vereinigten Deutschland’ in Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte, Bonn, die Zentrale für Politische Bildung, B21, 22, pp 30-32.

[235] Die Partei des Demokratischen Sozialismus - The Party of Democratic Socialism and the successor party to the SED, the ruling communist party in the GDR - http://www.rhein-zeitung.de/on/98/09/28/topnews/frauenimbundestag.html.

[236] Unpublished paper by McKay, J. (2000) Women in German Politics: between ‘Critical Mass’ and Gender Equality, Nottingham University, p 17.

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Pages
321
Year
2002
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9783640098507
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9783640866885
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Language
English
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v93702
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University of Birmingham
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Identity Dissatisfaction Political Activity Experience East German Unification

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Title: Identity, Dissatisfaction and Political Activity - The Experience of East German women since Unification