This study explores how the state genders citizens' attitudes toward women by examining differences between East and West Germany in gender role attitudes since unification. Compared to the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), the German Democratic Republic (GDR) was a stronger supporter of women's employment, although the two countries did not differ greatly in their policies on women's roles within the family. Using four waves of the German Social Survey, I examine whether East–West differences in gender role attitudes are explained by: 1) institutional learning (socialization under a particular regime) or 2) compositional effects (variation in the distribution of causal factors, specifically women's employment or religious affiliation). Analyses suggest that both types of factors influenced East–West differences in gender role attitudes. Even when other characteristics are included in the model, East and West Germans continue to differ in their gender role attitudes. Women's employment and religiosity—both heavily influenced by GDR policies—continue to play a large role in determining gender role attitudes even 15 years after unification. The results suggest that gendered state policies are reflected in citizens' gender role attitudes both directly and through changes in the social characteristics of the population.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Gender Studies
- Sociology and Political Science