East European Communities: The Struggle for Balance in Turbulent Times

By David A. Kideckel | Go to book overview

11
Decollectivization to Poverty
and Beyond: Women in Rural East
Germany Before and After Unification

Hermine G. De Soto and Christel Panzig

In March 1993, an East German feminist politician and member of parliament representing the Linke Liste called upon the German Bundestag to debate the deteriorating situation of East German rural women after unification. In her speech, "Perspectives for Women in Rural Communities in the New Federal States," Ms. Bläss called upon the Bundestag:

Dear President! Ladies and Gentlemen! It took the federal government eight] months to answer my request for this debate regarding rural women in East Germany. My research results about the situation of rural women are very disappointing. Leading East German agrarian female experts whom I consulted on the present state of the East German rural economy were dismayed and outraged about the ignorance and the lack of knowledge in Bonn about the concrete situation of rural women in East Germany.

Ms. Bläss concluded:

...in the rural economy of the new East German states, employment for women can only succeed in the long term if politicians consider in their programs more than before that the overwhelming majority of female employees in East Germany do not work in the model called the family farm, as it is known in West Germany, but the small number of women still employed after unification work in the transformed collectives (i.e., in market oriented cooperatives or the new Kapitalgesellschaften) [similar to agribusinesses]. This means that the

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