chapter  3
23 Pages

“Now It is Completely the Other Way Around”: Political Economies of Fertility in Re-unified Germany

WithSusan L. Erikson

This chapter explains about political economies of fertility in re-unified Germany. It attempts to address a gap in the German fertility literature by giving voice to the people who are in a position to reflect on childbearing decisions since the early 1990s. Daycare, job security and family-friendly employment and housing policies normalized women's work outside the home and in effect shaped fertility decisions in east Germany. Current fertility differences resulting from Germany's divided history will grow increasingly less remarkable as the number of women who lived and/or remember the culture of motherhood in East Germany decreases. The impact of state policy and market forces on fertility cannot be underestimated, and in the German case we find proof positive that political economies of place make a difference in experiences of reproduction. Demographic statistics alone tell us little about the intranational variability of fertility experiences in Germany. Germany’s geopolitical division cultivated notable differences in childbearing practices.