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Sex and the party : gender policy, gender culture, and political participation in unified Germany

This thesis explores the relationship between gender policy, gender culture, and political participation in unified Germany. It investigates the extent to which political regimes shape citizens' attitudes towards gender roles and examines the effect of such attitudes on women's participation in politics. The thesis is divided into three parts: The first part explores the differences in gender regime types between the former German Democratic Republic and Federal Republic of Germany during the Cold War period. Building on existing studies, the analysis considers how generations that were socialised in the divided Germany differ in their attitudes toward gender roles. It finds that citizens from West Germany are more socially conservative than citizens from the East. The second part of the thesis tests the effects of these traditional gender attitudes on citizens' participation, focusing on party membership. The analysis highlights that gender gaps in formal political participation in unified Germany still exist, but that these gaps are smaller in the new federal states. The investigation further shows that traditional gender attitudes exert a negative effect on women’s political engagement beyond the predictive power of socio-economic and demographic factors. The final part of this thesis casts a critical look at the political controversy in Germany over the introduction of a cash-for-care subsidy (the so-called Betreuungsgeld). It explores the normative assumptions and ideas about gender roles that have been promoted by Germany's main political parties throughout the policy negotiation process. Using a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods, the research presented in this thesis draws on, and contributes to, studies on gender, welfare states, political socialisation, and political participation.
Date January 2014
CreatorsGlatte, Sarah
ContributorsDe Vries, Catherine; Sasse, Gwendolyn
PublisherUniversity of Oxford
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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