Gendered impacts of privatisation and austerity in eastern Europe

Elsevier, The Lancet, Volume 393, Issue 10171, 9–15 February 2019, Pages 519-520.
Kristen Ghodsee

Some 30 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, scholars are still investigating the impacts of the transition years—from the finding that east Europeans born around the introduction of free markets are, on average, a centimetre shorter than people born just before or immediately after the onset of transition to the association between mass privatisation programmes in post-socialist European countries and a short-term increase in mortality rates among working-aged men. But what about the women? Although women from former Eastern Bloc countries were relatively better prepared than men for the transition to the free market, partly due to their education and professional experience in certain “white collar” sectors of the economy, rapid privatisation and the concomitant implosion of public spending reduced women's ability to compete in newly liberalised labour markets.