GHDI logo
German History in Documents and Images
return to system

Members of a "Socialist Work Collective" Eat Lunch in the Barracks of a Potsdam Construction Site (1959)
Like their counterparts in the Federal Republic, women in the GDR often took subordinate or menial positions as unskilled or semi-skilled laborers. Lacking other opportunities, although gradually more vocational and educational opportunities were intentionally opened up for women in the GDR, many single women had to do physically demanding work in sectors such as construction. Construction work, though, at least had the advantage of occasionally paying well. In 1959, the construction industry in the GDR employed around 39,390 women; they accounted for approximately 8.7 percent of the industry’s total workforce. In the Federal Republic, only 2.7 of construction workers were women. Photo by Herbert Fiebig.