chapter  7
18 Pages

Rural Women in the Former GDR: A Generation Lost?

WithBettina van Hoven

In this chapter, the author draws on research for her doctoral research that was conducted between 1996 and 1999, along with a follow-up study in 2002, on women's changing geographies in Mecklenburg-Westpommerania since German unification. She discusses the experiences from the perspective of a group of unemployed women. Since German unification, women in rural areas of the former GDR have experienced numerous changes. New policies, generated as a result of the Amsterdam Treaty, have had no impact on the lives of the women and some policy-makers have begun to talk about a 'lost generation'. In Uecker Randow, memories of unification were certainly less vibrant than events in cities would suggest. The Landwirtschaftliche Produktionsgenossenschaften was commonly regarded as the political, economic, cultural and communal centre, and agriculture was the principal force for innovation in their associated village. Unification ended socialism virtually overnight and introduced a new legal system, a market-oriented economy and multi-party politics.