Under the auspices of East Germany’s elite sports federation, headed by Manfred Ewald and monitored by the Ministry of State Security (known as Stasi), the government used doping as part of a deceptive master plan to secure international prestige through success in sports. Girls as young as 12 were recruited from across the country, and without their knowledge, were regularly administered untested steroids and male hormones as part of their training. Ultimately, Olympic gold came at a disturbing price for many of the German athletes, specificially side effects ranging from male-type hair growth and deepened voices to liver and heart disease, depression, infertility, miscarriages, and even death.
East Germany's rapid transition to a free market economy meant the loss of a giant support structure, which had enabled 91% of East German women to be employed, even while having three or more children. Women used to enjoy up to one year of paid maternity leave, subsidized day care, and generous bonus pay - but under the new capitalist system, there were drastic cutbacks.
As unemployment rises, it is primarily women who find themselves pushed off the job market. No longer financially self-sufficient and driven from the careers they identified with, many women have trouble coping with their "second lives" under a vastly different system.
East Germany decided to upgrade the fortifications in the late 1960s to establish a "modern frontier" that would be far more difficult to cross. Barbed-wire fences were replaced with harder-to-climb expanded metal barriers; directional anti-personnel mines and anti-vehicle ditches blocked the movement of people and vehicles; tripwires and electric signals helped guards to detect escapees; all-weather patrol roads enabled rapid access to any point along the border; and wooden guard towers were replaced with prefabricated concrete towers and observation bunkers.