Women in Stalins Russia

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Marriage as an institution did not at first win the favour of all Bolsheviks. During the 1920s the Soviet government had tried to weaken the family as a unit of society because it believed it exploited women. Government propaganda, as early as the 1920’s emphasised the role of woman workers as well as homemakers. Wedding rings were abolished. Abortion became available on demand. Marriages were performed in brief ceremonies only in register offices. Divorce could be obtained simply by one partner in the marriage requesting it. By 1934 there were 37 divorces for every 100 marriages, while there were 154,000 abortions for every 57,000 live births in Moscow. In 1936, in the face of growing trends of abortion, family desertion and juvenile crime, the government introduced new measures to strengthen family life. Divorce was made more difficult, abortion became a criminal offence except when it was necessary on medical grounds, and wedding rings were restored. And to try to increase the birth rate, tax exemptions were given to families with large numbers of children. Homosexuality was also banned. Families received a range of new benefits under Stalin. There was a free health service for all, there were holidays with pay for many workers, and an insurance scheme against accidents at work. To encourage women to go back to work after giving birth, almost all factories set up crèches to care for their children. However, women still faced discrimination in the workplace, usually occupying the lower positions Soviet women under Stalin were the first generation of women able to give birth in the safety of a hospital, with access to prenatal care.[75] Education was also an example of an increase in standard of living after economic development. The generation born during Stalin's rule was the first near-universally literate generation. Millions benefitted from mass literacy campaigns in the 1930s, and from workers training schemes.[76] Engineers were sent abroad to learn...
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