Weiss, Karin (Abingdon: Routledge (a Taylor & Francis imprint), 2002)
"Reinventing Gender" focuses on the consequences of post-communist transformation for women in eastern Germany and evaluates their responses. In the GDR era, women were required to take on employment while the state provided child care and financial incentives for mothers. Since the duty to work applied to men as well as women, women did not perceive their situation as disadvantaged or gender as a barrier to their socio-economic participation. Gender was not linked with inequality and there was no feminist discourse, although the hidden reality was that women's issues lagged behind those of men. In the post-communist era gender emerged as a new divide. While the politicians had expected that eastern German women would focus on their families, they confounded policy-makers by refusing to regard homemaking as an acceptable lifestyle. However, since unification women have had fewer employment opportunities and lower job security. Gender has been reinvented in two ways: a sense of injustice among women and their bid for labour market inclusion, and the experience of unfamiliar barriers to employment on the grounds of gender. In recasting their biographies by postponing marriage and childbirth and developing new strategies of risk management to retain their place in the newly competitive labour market, women are trying to avoid the pitfalls of gender and take advantage of the opportunities in the post-communist setting.
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