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Women's Movements in Eastern and Central Europe

The creation of a more "women -friendly" civil society was one of the myths associated with the peaceful revolution of 1989 in East Germany. Many East German women therefore watched the rising public demand for unification with suspicion: "Do we want to reunite with the men in Bonn and replace the dictatorship of the politburo with that of the chancellor's office?" was a rhetorical question frequently asked by the newly founded women's movement in the GDR.2 Apprehension about the gendered structure of the West German state and skepticism about distributions of power and social influence were widespread among East German feminists. And indeed, while West German women hoped that with unification some of the progressive women's policies of the GDR state would find their way into new legislation, the outcome of the unification treaty and subsequent German policy decisions have disappointed such hopes.