Menu Close

Work and Family in Women’s Lives in the German Democratic Republic


Trappe, Heike (1996). Work and Family in Women's Lives in the German Democratic Republic. Work and Occupations, 23(4), 354-377.


This article examines the impact of changing social policies on strategies to balance family responsibilities and employment used by women who were living in the German Democratic Republic (GDR). New life-history data for 4 birth cohorts that cover the different periods of this socialist society's 40-year existence allow comprehensive analyses of women's life courses. In the context of changing levels of support to combine work and family, the article attempts to show what strategies women used and how their chances for upward mobility were influenced by these adjustments. Systematic differences regarding labor force participation, quality of work, and adaptations to family demands are revealed among women who entered the labor force and formed their families at different times. The considerable change in women's employment patterns can only be explained by taking into account the social policies that were embedded in women's opportunity structures.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Work and Occupations


Trappe, Heike