Results of national surveys carried out in East-European countries convincingly showed that after the fall of communism the gender gap in earnings remained substantial. Following the same analytical framework here I explore a range of issues concerning the gender gap in membership in what I define as the “underclass” in 6 post-communist societies. The basic question is to determine whether or not such a gap exits. I find considerable cross-national variation in the odds of female/male membership in the underclass: women in Poland, Russia and Hungary appear to be most heavily over-represented in this category, while in Bulgaria and Slovakia, the effect of gender does not exist. In addition, the explanation for this gap cannot be found in the intergenerational transmission of poverty, in differences in marital status, and other social–demographic attributes commonly employed in quantitative studies. It is only the lower educational status of women, living in rural areas, and older age, which significantly interact with relatively higher representation of women in the underclass. After controlling for several characteristics of a person's socio–economic position I found that in four countries, namely in Poland, Russia, Romania and Hungary, a statistically significant net effect of gender remains which provides solid evidence for the feminization of the underclass in these societies.

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