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Chapter 17Commonalities and differences FRG vs GDR: Gender / LGBTIQ*

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Harald Hauswald @ Bundesstiftung Aufarbeitung

In most democratic societies, equality is a fundamental principle and ideal to be pursued.

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Harald Hauswald @ Bundesstiftung Aufarbeitung

Part of the series Divided Germany, the wall and reunification

26 materials

Life in the GDR and the FRG

  • Number of downloads:33110
  • Teaching material is available in the following languages German, English

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Youth culture in divided Germany

  • Teaching material is available in the following languages German, English

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Do walls work?

  • Teaching material is available in the following languages German, English

A1 A2 B1 B2 C1 C2

Germany between 1945 and 1996

  • Number of downloads:1370
  • Teaching material is available in the following languages German, English, Span. (Mex.)

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A day at the Berlin Wall

  • Number of downloads:4884
  • Teaching material is available in the following languages German, English

A2

Description

In most democratic societies, equality is a fundamental principle and ideal to be pursued. This also applied to East and West Germany. But how did equality look in everyday in both states? And how did the legal situation differ in the GDR and in the FRG in reference to women's rights and minority protection? What did it mean to grow up as a queer person in the GDR and what is it like to live as a queer person in present day united Germany?

Videos and worksheet

1. WHAT DID WOMEN MEAN TO SOCIALISM?
Women emancipation in the GDR was mainly sought in the public sphere, with emplyoment and education being the driving vehicles. Gender equality debates did not address the private sphere enough. 

2. GENDER EQUALITY IN THE GDR
Gender equality was heavily based on the participation in the workforce, which women entered in high numbers. This did not lead to equitable political power, though. 

3. ABORTION AND THE RIGHT TO THE BODY
Both, the GDR and FRG inherited, in 1949, an anti-abortion law called paragraph 218. The way in which they handled abortion and paragraph 218 though, differed tremendously. 

4. INDEPENDENCE
With full-employment, easy access to contraception and divorce, and childcare – and despite having to work a “second shift” at home, East German women did have a reputation for independence and self-confidence. 

5. CAREER AND FAMILY
Still, for many women, reconciling career and family remained a powerful dilemma. East German stories told by East Germans. 

6. LIVING AS A QUEER PERSON IN THE GDR
Mario Roellig came out in the GDR at the end of the 80ies. We asked him: What was it like to live as a queer person in East Germany?


7. PERSECUTION IN THE GDR
Mario Roellig attempted to escape the GDR in 1987, but was caught and imprisoned in a Stasi high- security prison. Why is his history of persecution in the GDR important? What can it help us understand? In German with English subtitles. 

8. QUEER IN PRESENT DAY GERMANY
We asked Mario Roellig, a GDR- eyewitness and present-day queer activist: What are your experiences of living as a queer person in Germany?

FOR GERMAN LEARNERS: QUEER AS GERMAN FOLK (Brochure and teaching tips)
Gender equality, diversity and identity - if you´re a teenager or young adult, these terms may be quite difficult to grasp in your own native language, let alone in a foreign language. QP, a multimedia booklet written from the perspective of a teenager, takes on the challenge by inviting learners of German to creatively explore, probe and expand their linguistic skills on topics such as: 100 Years of German Queer History, Identity and Discrimination, Protest Movements, Gender Equality and Diversity. 

PARTNERS
Bundesstiftung Aufarbeitung der SED-Diktatur (Federal Foundation for the Reappraisal of the SED Dictatorship), German Consulate General New York, German American Partnership Program (GAPP), American Association of Teachers of German (AATG), Transatlantic Outreach Program (TOP) and Spark for German.

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