The Experience of Western Countries--Ideologies and Trends
It is often said that women's position in employment, and especially in highly qualified employment, is fundamentally different in Eastern Europe from what is found in Western countries such as Britain, West Germany, France, Sweden, or the United States. But when the situations in the West and the East are reviewed together, the similarities stand out even more than the differences.
In the West as in Eastern Europe the proportion of women, especially married women, who are in the work force has risen steeply through the last generation. There has been the same tendency for women's share in higher education to increase rapidly-- whether measured by the absolute number of women studying or by the proportion which women students make up of their age group or of the whole student body--and for women with higher education to show a high level of career commitment. There has been the same tendency for the family and community to develop in ways which make it easier for married women to work outside the home if they so wish: for shopping, housing, and other services to improve, for the number of large families and of births after age 30 to fall, and for husbands to take a larger and less patriarchal part in the running of their homes.
There are the same tendencies in the West as in the East for the proportion of girls who reach college to remain at least marginally lower than the proportion of men; for women to take a much smaller share in postgraduate study than in study at undergraduate level; for even highly qualified women to spend substantially less of their potential working time in employment than correspondingly qualified men; and for women's career paths to stop well short of the top. When the reasons for these negative tendencies are listed they turn out again to be very much the same in the West as in the East; overload; problems of the care of young children; slowness on the part