Evidence that women had greater/ limited opportunities in Stalinist Russia


Evidence that women had greater/ limited opportunities in Stalinist Russia


  • Making Money-
  • Large number of women joined labour force
  • 1928- FFYP only 3 million women employed in Russian industries, by 1940 it leapt to 13 million also 41% workers in heavy industry were female. Some cities e.g. Leningrad had almost 1/2 industrial force as women
  • Allocated places in higher/ technical education available to women, 20% in 1929 and 40% in 1940
  • 1945- 80% of collective farm workers were women, with women representing the Stakhanovite movement in the country. The celebrated rural Stakhanovites were both women
  • Pasha Angelina- Found fame organising the first tractor brigade
  • Maria Demchanko- 1936 publicity due to pledge havesting 4 times the average yield of sugar beet
  • 1936 -62% of delegates from cattle and dairy farms to the Stakhanvite livestock workers' conference were Milkmaids
  • Making Babies-
  • Making Homes-
  • The 'wife activists' movement organised nurseries and activities for seriously ill children, setting up schools and libraries, supervising factory canteens and charity work
  • Wife of senior officials in Magnitogorsk organised a masked ball, proceeds were distributed to the needy


  • Making Money-
  • Soviet authorities continued to pay women less than their male equivalent. Women's income 60-65% of the income of men doing the same job
  • Making Babies-
  • Trauma of industrialisation and collectivisation led to dramatic decline in birth rate in early 1930's policies were introduce to reverse it
  • Women with more than six children qualified for state help, rewards were offered for certain amounts of children 7 = 2000 roubles a year for 5 years and 11 = 5000
  • Moscow registry office received 4000 applications in thr first month of the policy, 2730 families = 8 children, 1032 families = 10 children, 160 families = >10 children
  • 1936 soviet authorities discouraged abortion, New law banned the termination of a pregnancy unless it endangered the mothers life
  • Doctors who performed 'undeserving' abortions were sentenced to two years imprisonment, the same applied to men who pushed women to terminate pregnancies
  • Making Homes-
  • In addition to working on farms or industry women were still expected to be responsible for household chores
  • Men did help with this but many of the male chores had been liberated with mechanisms to help them perform the task, e.g. chopping wood which women didn't have
  • On average women spent 5x longer on domestic responsibilities than men
  • Wives of party officials expected not to work but instead manage 'a well- ordered communist home'
  • End of the 1920's common for communist families to employ nannies to communist parties wives could still be involved in political work
  • Mid 1930's practice frowned upon and female members of the communist party encouraged to do duty at home
  • Wives of party officials expected to be involved in 'wife activists' movement, attempted to create union between women who devoted themselves to being 'mistresses of the great soviet home'
  • 'Wife activists' attempted to be 'mother' to the whole of the soviet society, yet this meant members of the wives' movement were expected to be ideal mothers and partners
  • Homes were expected to be 'examples of order, warmth and feminine comfort', husbands expected to be caring and attentive


Women had limited opportunities under Stalinist Russia


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