Women and the Family

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  • Women and the Family
    • The changing status of women
      • Status of women changed, some initiatives were liberating, others were conservative
      • Between 1917 and 1940 women tended to play a supporting role, propaganda often showed men in industry and women in agriculture
      • For Lenin both genders played important roles, (industry more important) men played primary role
      • Women were shown less in propaganda and mostly as mothers or children
      • Women were portrayed similar to pre revolution, supporting or weaker, attitude of men changed little
      • Women featured heavily in ww2 and cold war, celebrating Russian nation and vital role of women, however still portrayed women as vulnerable and in need of men help, linked saving soviet land with saving women
        • After war women shown as symbol of equality, using girl soldiers, spacewoman, however worry and campaign with women and western trends
      • Under Brezhnev women were shown more traditionally, good workers, caring mothers, falling birth rates led to campaigns
        • Natural differences explained, women need to nurture men, criticised women who neglected children by working, women responsible for family and teenage issues
    • Women at work
      • Working women became a key feature of soviet society, in 1955 49% of workforce was women, however promotions were rare, lower pay, workers in towns had more opportunities, few women in government
      • Women were used in civil war to fill jobs such as nursing, women led nurturing roles, Under NEP opportunities for women were limited, lots of unemployment, lots of prostitutes
      • In 5 year plans many women joined industrial workforce 3 mil in NEP to 13 mil in 1940. Womens role in industry recognised, more women in higher or technical education, yet women were only payed 60 / 65% of mens wages, verbal and physical abuse
        • After war trends appeared; women in light industry, heavy manual labour, both low skilled, less pay for less skilled work, few women managers
      • in 1960's women were employed in administration, education, health services
      • Brezhnev used BAM to construct railine, workers wanted female company, few women made them liberated, women meant to be independent and equal, but serve interests of men
        • 1960 education widely available, half of graduates were women, high employment in education and art
      • 1920's - 1940's lots of employment in agriculture, 'triple shift' some gained status through tractor driving but many remained in unskilled jobs
      • Women targeted in virgin land schemes, manual labourers, carers, lowest paid most demanding jobs, sexual abuse, men in priority
      • Women played a major part in war; female fighters, gained respect, but wartime equality was shortlived
      • Female party members were underrepresented at high levels, women worked in health, education, welfare, few in economics
        • only 12% of party members were women in 1928, expected to play house roles, 'wife activists', women were in jobs of 'natural ability' 33% of local soviets in 1959
          • Large amounts of women joined party after 1953, 1956 - 1963 party members were 26% but only 4% central committee, women in workforce and educated id not lead to a rise of women in government
    • The Soviet Family
      • Family policy and legal rights of women changed; some liberal some convservative
      • Lenins government did not have a consistent view on women; some wanted true woman who was truly liberated, free from selfish relationships (new women). Lenin critical of free love, but still reformed marriage and divorce
      • reforms 1919 - 1930; improved education, high rates of university students, legal rights, reproductive rights, martial rights, sexual rights
        • failure of reforms; democracy suspended, soviet little real authority, men initiated 70% divorce (especially on pregnant women), experimental communal living failed, marriage was essential to society, failed to help sexual abuse, no day care facilities
      • in 1930 policy became conservative; abortion criminalised, contraception banned, homosexuality criminalised, lesbian 'disease', sex outside marriage stigmatised, medical virginity checks, divorce expensive difficult, fathers forced to pay 1/3 of earnings to divorcees this increased with children
      • Incentives for women to have children with pay, campaigns against unfaithful women, expected to do family roles
      • Women were re-emphasized under Kchev, wanted traditional roles, but to make them easier, recognised women's struggles, reforms; abortion legalised, working conditions for women, day care, eliminate double shift, refrigerators, maternity leave
        • problems; contraception hard to obtain, few jobs, little recognition of rights, domestic appliances hard to obtain, women had less time
      • Brezhnev conservative; believed sexual equality had been achieved, inequality blamed on 'natural' qualities, womens goal should be unskilled work and birth, sexual morality was strict, traditional house roles occoured, women 2x domestic time, but pensions were lowered

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