"Der Sozialismus Siegt1": Women's ordinary lives in an East German factory

Source of Publication

Journal of International Women's Studies


© 2017 Journal of International Women's Studies. Socialism Triumphs adorned the roof of the office equipment factory (BWS) in the Thuringian town of Sömmerda until 1990. The factory became a driving economic force in the GDR. The city, called "the capital of computers," represents a unique case of urban development and governmental support, showcasing the state's anticipated unity of economic and social policy. This article explores the everyday lives of women working in the factory (1946 and 1991) and examines the state-sanctioned women's policies, how they were implemented and how women perceived these policies and the officially accomplished emancipation of men and women. Sömmerda had roughly 23,000 inhabitants in the 1980s of which 13,000 (nearly half of them women) worked in the BWS. This research relies on archival records and personal accounts by women who worked in the factory. These records shed light on and question the actually accomplished equality of the sexes that was so imperative in socialist state rhetoric.

Document Type


First Page


Last Page


Publication Date


Author First name, Last name, Institution

Susanne Kranz, Zayed University

This document is currently not available here.