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Neuenbundeslaender: The effects of state and policy reunification on the women and families in the former German Democratic Republic

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Title: Neuenbundeslaender: The effects of state and policy reunification on the women and families in the former German Democratic Republic
Author: Schulenberg, Jennifer Lina
Department: Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Advisor: Cebotarev, E.A.
Abstract: This thesis is an investigation of the relationship between public policy and family well-being within Unified Germany through an examination of the effects of public policy on the women and families in the New Federal States as a result of reunification. Data obtained from secondary data analysis, personal observation, interviews with German sociologists and content analysis of media excerpts conceptualized within the theoretical framework of Margrit Eichler's models of the family and Myra Marx Feree's private and public patriarchy indicate that when the laissez-faire family policy structure of West Germany was imposed upon the former East Germany in an authoritarian and colonialistic manner it had a predominantly negative effect on the women and families in the New Federal States. Reunification has affected women more than men as they experience higher levels of unemployment, less employment opportunities in becoming rehired, and diminished personal options. The economic situation is considerably worse for families and there is more income stratification between family types. The findings also indicate that the public policies which benefitted women and family well-being in the GDR are the areas that saw the most dramatic demographic shifts where the trends in the New Federal States now resemble those in the Old Federal States as a result of adaptation to policy changes suggesting a reciprocal relationship between policy and the family that needs to be considered in public policy design and implementation.
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10214/25042
Date: 2000
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