Anna Matysiak, Stephanie Steinmetz
Finding their way? Female employment patterns in West Germany, East Germany and Poland

European Sociological Review, 2008: 24, Heft 3, S. 331-345
ISSN: 1468-2672

The aim of this article is to examine how (i) children and (ii) the existence and potential earnings of husbands affect women's employment patterns in West Germany, East Germany, and Poland. In particular, it assesses whether employment patterns in East Germany and Poland resemble those exhibited in West Germany after the collapse of the socialist regime. Given the considerable changes to labour market and family policies experienced by post-socialist countries that have resulted in an increased conflict between family and work, this is an important area of research. In the post-socialist countries, we find differences in female employment patterns compared to West Germany, expressed in the lower magnitude of child and husband effects. We argue that women in Poland and East Germany are going their own way, rejecting the ‘male breadwinner’ model, and only partly adjusting their behaviour to changing structural conditions.