Gender, work, and equal opportunities in central and eastern Europe

Beverly Dawn Metcalfe, Marianne Afanassieva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose - This paper examines gender, work and equal opportunities in central and eastern Europe (CEE) countries. The worker-mother contract in socialist systems is discussed and reveals how transition from a communist economic system to a market economy has eroded women's equality within the workplace claimed with the Communist and economic social legacy. The aim is to explore the opportunities and constraints on women's professional career advancement in post-socialist societies. Design/methodology/approach - The paper consolidates research on gender and work within CEE countries and draws on international datasets including, the Gender Development Index and Gender Empowerment Index. Findings - The results show that women's high representation in management and professional occupations, once the hallmark of socialist employment structures, is now being threatened by the erosion of state childcare services and the increasing level of discriminatory practices in recruitment, selection and development. It is suggested that the formal state structures have acted to foster neo-traditionalism and a traditional gender identity. Economic and political transition is argued to be a process of remasculinisation, which reaffirms gendered hierarchies and gendered power relations in public and private realms. Originality/value - The paper contributes to the limited subject of equal opportunities and gender issues within an organisation context within CEE regions. The paper examines gender-mainstreaming methodologies and considers implications for the development of equal opportunity and diversity management policies at state and organization level. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-411
Number of pages14
JournalWomen in Management Review
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • Eastern Europe
  • Equal opportunities
  • Gender
  • Jobs
  • Transition management

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global Development Institute


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