Women’s Participation in Political Power in Europe: an Essay in East-West Comparison
Women's studies international forum
GB : Pergamon Press
115 - 128 p.
This article traces the divergent paths followed by women in East and West European countries in their attempt to participate in politics. Women in Western Europe have struggled for rights which seemed to be granted easily to women in the East; women remained very marginal to decision-making in most of these countries, although Scandinavian women were far ahead of others in this respect. Western feminists therefore admired emancipated Communist women, thought to be far more integrated into their political systems than were women in the capitalist West. Women in the East did benefit from a greater degree of public commitment to equality and from more social rights, but in many ways male/female roles in both the workplace and the home remained untouched. With moves towards greater integration in the European Community and with the upheavals in East Central Europe, what models for political participation are there now for women? Without Communism as a reference point, do women in the East want to align themselves with the values of the capitalist West? Would they not have much to lose? Will the increased importance of the European Parliament make a difference for women in the West?