Anna Kaminsky, in her interesting book about the women who lived in East Germany, writes that East Germany really had no choice about enrolling women into its full-time work-force. The number of killed and wounded men, sidelined by World War II, meant that the women had to take up the slack.

 

I have watched YouTubes of women in the East laboring in bucket brigades, attacking the mountains of war-rubble that resulted from prolonged bombing by British and American air-forces. Long lines of good-humored, tolerant women past full buckets one way, then returned the empty buckets to the front.

 

But when they had done their duty, cleared the rubble, harvested the crops, and repaved the streets, the women wanted to return home to marry and raise families. Instead, the government basically conscripted them to go back to school, learn a trade, and to start working full-time.
When the women balked, the government initiated one of its propaganda campaigns that derided such womend as "Schmarozerinnen," an unpleasant word for social parasite, or as women preferring a "Heimchen am Herd," little women who never leave the kitchen, to make them feel ridiculous.  
By the end of the 1950s, 56% of women worked full-time. By the end of the '60s, the number approached 80%, and by the end of the '80s, 90%.  No one at that time thought about the consequences, that the burden of work would limit every aspect of their lives, and limited their opportunity to socialize. Their work-burdens actually increased as the compulsory quality of life in East Germany drove many to seek a new life in the West, at least until the erection of the Berlin Wall.
When the Wall came down, followed by Reunification, the number of women working full-time declined markedly. Even in West Germany, where women also touted Feminism as a lifestyle, the women prefer part-time jobs.


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September 30, 2022

Rolexes and Wealth

I remember the day my eighth-grade teacher arrived at school wearing his new wrist-watch. We saw this guy for the 180 days of the school-year and knew him pretty well--as well as anyone did. We noticed that, among his other mannerisms, he tended to look often at the watch during class. We thought he was keen to know the time on a regular basis. Now, I believe he was just admiring his new watch.


September 28, 2022

Family-life is not a Democracy

I ran into a problem yesterday when I returned to Germany. On my first evening, I wanted to slake my thirst for German beer, big-time! So I ordered a liter-serving right off the bat; but I knew I also wanted some wine and ordered a carafe of it, as well. Shamefully, I have to admit to not finishing either. I slaked my thirst, but had to leave some of it undrunk. I hate wasting anything, but I had work to do and wanted to operate on all my cylinders.


September 24, 2022

Violence in the Real

This article appeared last July in the Sunday edition of the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper, by the newspaper's expert on hip-hop music, Florentin Schuhmacher. He regards gangsta-rap, and its sub-genre Drill, as a legitimate art-form. He can understand the reservations that law enforcement, parents, and teachers have toward music that glorifies gang-life, describes the rush of killing one's enemies, the pleasure of drugs—as a source of wealth—and demeaning women; but Schumacher also says the police cannot simply censor it. They must distinguish between art and criminal acts, shooings, and robberies.


Lloyd Bowers

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