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New Left Review I/209, January-February 1995

Frigga Haug

The Quota Demand and Feminist Politics

There is not much of a women’s movement in Germany today, in either West or East. A strong backlash can be felt from the relatively united male sector of the population against the achievements of the women’s movement over the past twenty years, and also against the hopes and expectations of women from the former gdr. Though a very prosperous country, Germany faces ever growing structural unemployment, part of this being solved at women’s expense. The number of unemployed women is steadily increasing, and according to Der Spiegel by May 1994 had reached 42.8 per cent in West Germany, and 64.6 per cent in the East. Seventy per cent of women in work are said to receive less than 560 dm per month, which means they are without social security. It would be easy to go on describing the ever worsening conditions for women—in education, in childcare, in income, in old age—in fact everywhere. The crisis is striking women first.

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