Women's discontent in the German Democratic Republic during the Honecker era
Boyce, Kate Elizabeth
Thesis or dissertation
- © 2006 Kate Elizabeth Boyce. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.
The aim of this study is to investigate the nature of women’s discontent in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) during the Honecker Era. It will focus on women’s experiences as a social group, using individual stories to reveal trends and developments in the outlooks and approaches of women living under the East German communist regime during the 1970s and 1980s. Women’s discontent in the GDR ranged from criticism of mundane matters that personally affected them and their families, to more fundamental critiques of the regime’s policies. This thesis incorporates all these different levels of discontent.
The thesis is divided into two parts. Part 1 examines general discontent amongst women in the GDR. Chapter 1 aims to understand the true extent of women’s emancipation in East Germany by examining the effects of GDR women’s policies and evaluating women’s roles at work and in the home. Chapter 2 analyses women’s petitions, identifying the main themes and reflecting on the language used by women, in order to give an insight into the actual issues that affected women in their day-to-day lives.
Part 2 concentrates on more specific, organised discontent amongst women in the GDR, particularly in the 1980s. Chapter 3 explores the experiences of lesbians in East Germany, focusing particularly on the development of homosexual and lesbian groups, organised both within and outside of the Church. Chapter 4 provides a comprehensive study of the formation and structure of women’s peace groups and their activities and changing principles, with particular emphasis on the East Berlin ‘Women for Peace’ organisation. Part 2 helps to illustrate the development of a new kind of women’s consciousness in the GDR and an understanding of the role of women’s opposition groups and women’s networks in the dissident movement in the build up to the Wende.
Overall the broad analysis of aspects of women’s discontent in this thesis attempts to fill in gaps in current research on women in the GDR. But this study also hopes to make a wider contribution to GDR history as a whole. In this way, the assessment of women’s reactions to changing events in the public and private sphere, and in reverse, the state’s changing attitude towards women, should provide real clues to the nature of the GDR’s political framework.
- Department of History, The University of Hull
- Grieder, Peter, 1968-
- Sponsor (Organisation)
- Arts & Humanities Research Council (Great Britain)
- Qualification level
- Qualification name
- 1 MB