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After the Fall of the Wall: The Impact of the Transition on East German Women

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This article addresses the impact of unification on East German families and on the situation of women in the East. The main hypothesis is that women are the losers of German unification, not only in terms of their decreasing participation in the labor force, but also in terms of their weakened position in partnerships and their increasing responsibilities in the domestic sphere. The findings are based primarily on personal interviews of different types of families. The first part of the article describes respondents' recollections of their everyday lives during the days of the former DDR (East Germany) and analyzes the specific family structures and relations between family members that prevailed. It focuses on the domestic division of labor and discusses the impact of high female employment on gender roles in the family and in the socialist society. The second part deals with the effects of German unification on families in East Germany.
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Keywords: Gender equality; position of women in united Germany; resource theory

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Berliner Institut für Sozialforschung

Publication date: March 1, 1998

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