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A child or a job? West- and East-German women's dilemma

Kreyenfeld, M. R., Konietzka, D.

Travail, Genre et Sociétés, 37:1, 53-69 (2017)

Schlagworte: Germany/FRG, Germany/GDR

Abstract

In East Germany, before reunification, less than 10% women remained childless, whereas in West Germany, their percentage had increased regularly until it reached 20%. This article focuses on these divergent evolutions using the data of a micro-census. It studies social policies that had an impact on women’s employment and on family models before unification took place. It also studies other, more recent tendencies and reforms, especially how care structures for young children developed and how parental leave benefit was reformed in 2007. If family and employment models in the East and the west converged in reunified Germany, behavioral discrepancies remain. Still today, it is more frequent for a woman not to have children in the West rather than in the East of the country. Furthermore, East German women usually work full time whereas the rate of West German mothers working full time increases rather slowly.

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