Deutschland einig Muttiland?
The Transformation of Women’s Rights in United Germany, 1989-2019
Characterized as “the triumph of the Vaterland,” unification was both a male-dominated and male-normed process, despite the significantly different gender regimes that had taken root in the Federal Republic and the GDR since 1949. Although Helmut Kohl personally promised that “everyone” would be better off in the nation united, Eastern women were quickly and disproportionately affected by mass unemployment, the elimination of social support services and the end of legal abortion, qualifying them as the “losers” of unification. While women in the western federal states displayed a noteworthy lack of solidarity toward their disadvantaged counterparts through the 1990s, they have become the paradoxical beneficiaries of greater sexual equality, thanks to various gender-friendly policies introduced since 2007. Having followed Merkel’s extraordinary rise to power since 1990, Dr. Joyce Mushaben will explore the extent to which Germany’s first female Chancellor has “re-instated” and expanded many gender rights that GDR women had formerly taken for granted, rendering women on both sides the ultimate “winners” of unification.
Join AGI for their first seminar in a series on the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Joyce Marie Mushaben is a Curators’ Professor of Comparative Politics and former Director of the Institute for Women’s & Gender Studies (2002-2005) at the University of Missouri – St. Louis. Fluent in German, her teaching centers on comparative public policy, the European Union, women’s leadership, citizenship, immigration, mega-cities and sustainability issues. Her research covers new social movements, youth protest, German unification and identities, gender, ethnicity and welfare issues, EU migration and integration studies.
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