Women in the Stalin Era

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Scientific Research An Academic Publisher. Affiliation s. In response to this new idea, many conservative opponents tend to consider feminists as radicals and associate feminism with ideologies like socialism and communism, both of which advocate for gender equality. However, history has proved that communism is not promoting feminism as positively or largely as many people would predict. As the first communist country ever stood on earth, the Soviet Union successfully opened up new economic and educational access for the long marginalized women after it formed in When Stalin came to power in , similar goals could still be seen in his domestic policies.

However, these opportunities did not necessarily translate into freedom or equality.

Apocalypse - Stalin Documentary

She illustrates that despite the measures passed to empower women politically, there was a continuously low political representation of women. While acknowledging the high percentage of employment and education among Soviet women, she argues that the CPSU failed to bring out enough social or structural changes to challenge the male-dominated culture long existing on the land.


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She detailedly describes their lives and careers, rises and falls, honors received and persecutions endured. Her book successfully proves to us that an undermined social and political position was the final outcome regardless of all these new opportunities opened to women. She thus suggests that a patriarchal culture of the nation has never disappeared with the new regime coming to power. However, there is barely any writing piece that starts with and concentrates on a cultural icon. More importantly, there is not much work that closely examines the relationship between communism and feminism, which people usually presume to be correlated positively.

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Most of the researches have studied the extent of changes for Soviet women by comparing the same group at different points and under different historical contexts. First, the paper defines feminism to contain two fundamental principle: equality and freedom. With his policies and use of propaganda, he violated both the principles of equality and freedom of feminism.

As mentioned above, feminism is a newly rising ideology. Unsurprisingly, people define and interpret it differently. To avoid future confusion, a clear and unmistakable definition of feminism is needed here. Unarguably, equality and freedom are two of the most major and crucial components of feminism.

Examples of policies promoting gender equality can be guaranteed equal payment, universal education, and so on.


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As for Stalin, he did not simply ignore the need of this kind of policies. During the early time of his reign, Soviet Women enjoyed protections against discrimination at workplaces with the help of the zhenotdel, a department established to secure equal rights for women Stites, At the same time, we can also see a rising percentage of educated women as education became increasingly accessible to women. Freedom, compared to equality which is frequently mentioned and discussed, is a trickier term due to its abstract nature.

On the surface, Stalin appeared to devote himself to free women from old-time oppression and exploitation and offer them absolute freedom. Evidently, Stalin and his administration did not deny the need to emancipate women or disacknowledge the difficulties they would encounter on this path. Examples above aim to help us understand what kinds of policies can promote true feminism and also demonstrate to us that Stalin has achieved some, though very limited, accomplishments in this field.

But what is more significant than those laws is a female cultural icon that rose up during his time. What we know for sure is that he and his administration created this cultural icon and spread it out with massive use of propaganda Engel, Productivity specifically refers to industrial productivity including efficiency of manufacture industries, production of heavy metal, and more importantly, assembly of military weapons.

In other words, Soviet women were greatly encouraged to get actively involved at workplaces like factories As for reproductivity, only reproductivity at home is emphasized. In fact, many people were convinced and determined to sacrifice personal goods for the sake of the nation and for the sake of the global revolution of the working class. Given the ideological commitment among the Soviet people, we can easily understand how Stalin took advantage of this mindset and successfully exploited women without being noticed much.

Nevertheless, Stalins decision is understandable.

Women of the Gulag: From Stalin to Pussy Riot

He knew how urgent the nation needed industrialization and a higher birth rate when a war was on the brink Harrison, clearly. To prosper the economy, Stalin demonstrated a clear intention to mobilize women only to meet the need of labor force for the national industrial development by appealing mainly to working women. Such mobilization, however, failed to provide women either equality or freedom. Stalin intentionally chose to ignore gender discrimination at working places to focus all his attention on gathering as many as women as possible by the assembly lines.

His indifference towards gender discrimination certainly violated the fundamental principle of equality of feminism. These two numbers were unusually low; especially when it happened in a country where the percentage of women education was relatively high. Similar conclusion was also drawn by professor Hoffman, who argued that research has shown that employment patterns relegated women to lower status and lower paid positions within Soviet industry.

But how? Nevertheless, his declaration obviously contradicted the case described lines above that displayed the persistent inequality at factories. Therefore, although Stalin kept encouraging women to go out and work, he ultimately failed to secure them with equality. With extensive use of propaganda, Stalin successfully confined Soviet women in a small sphere. The cartoon was, again, introduced to the public on the. Figure 1.

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Book Authors Journal Authors. Buy eBook. Buy Hardcover. Buy Softcover. FAQ Policy. About this book This book brings together for the first time a collection of essays by western scholars about women in the Stalin era At the Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide. Forged from a partnership between a university press and a library, Project MUSE is a trusted part of the academic and scholarly community it serves. Built on the Johns Hopkins University Campus.


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How did Stalin get away with murder?

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