Women in the Soviet Union

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Women in the Soviet Dictatorship
How were the lives of Soviet women affected by the policies of the Stalin era?

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Source: Izvestiia, “Old Way of Life,” March 8, 1930.

Document 2
Source: Pravda, "On the Path to a Great Emancipation," March 8, 1929. Today is international communist women’s day, the international day for working women. Today is a holiday in honor of one-half of the international proletarian army and in honor of the women workers of the socialist Soviet Union. In our country, governed by the power of the proletariat, the day of the woman worker has been consciously designated as a political and cultural “great day.” And outside the Soviet borders, in places where capitalist bondage has not been overthrown, we are certain that conscientious, advanced women workers will today demonstrate their dedication to the cause of the international revolution and their indestructible solidarity with the working women and men of the Soviet Union. Our woman worker in the past . . . during the barbaric, savage, and blood stained tsarist regime. The heavy and hopeless fate of the woman worker—as mother, wife, and girl. All of the striving of the woman worker toward the light, toward freedom, and to a human existence were snuffed out by the criminal arm of the autocracy. The exploitation and debasement were tripled: in politics, in factory labor, and in daily life. Working women in capitalist countries. Capitalist “democracy” has not and cannot give freedom to working and laboring women. Working women in all bourgeois countries are economically and politically enslaved. Middle class conventionality has a tenacious vice-grip on daily life. Advanced women workers and revolutionary women proletarians are persecuted. The most brutal blows of capitalist “rationalization,” unemployment, and hunger in the midst of plenty descend upon the female half of the proletariat. Fascism, Catholicism, and reformism with increasingly thoroughness exploit the historical backwardness of women workers in order to split apart the proletarian ranks and strengthen the position of imperialism. The temples of “national government”—what a thing to talk about!—are protected by stone walls which prevent the participation of working women. Only we in the Soviet Union have at hand all of the preconditions and foundations for the complete emancipation of working women. These preconditions were created and acquired in a severe struggle with enemies, at a time when world history passed over the heights of the great October summit. Only our women have been emancipated in practice, acting as conscious builders of a new society and a new governing commune, and speaking out as active citizens with fully equal rights in the socialist family. For more than eleven years, our woman worker has made her way along the path set by the proletarian dictatorship. Together with all the proletariat she fought for power in October. Together with her working brothers she passed through the crucible of sacrifice and suffering during the civil war. She stands in the most advanced ranks of our working collective in the present-day glorious and productive period of socialist construction. In the factory workshop and at the controls of the state ships, in the cooperatives and at the shooting range, in the nursery school and at the thundering machinery, everywhere the tractors of our increasingly strong state farms and collective farms are plowing the virgin soil of our Soviet land, in the workers’ faculties and in courses for the red sisterhood where the proletariat struggles relentlessly to master science, and everywhere that life is in full swing and the anthills of labor are humming—in none of these places have the working women of the Soviet Union been forced into last place. Everywhere the vigorous stream of activism of our women workers is flowing. With ever more firm and certain steps they are advancing on the path...
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