October 1917-1953, Soviet Policies and Women's Emancipation Part 2

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Notwithstanding the feminization of labor did not follow a linear path. Indeed, the introduction of the New Economic Policy in 1921, characterized by a contraction of the economy saw a stagnation of women’s employment. In effect, able bodied veterans got their occupations back and state investments in welfare programs decreased. The percentage of women in the labor force diminished from 25% in 1922 to 24% in 1928 (Heitlinger 1979). This trend reversed after the inauguration of the First Five Year Plan in 1928 and collectivization. Indeed, between 1928 and 1955, the part of women in the labor force rose from 24% to 46%. The political rule encouraged this pattern. The People’s Commissariat of Labor published two lists of professions reserved …show more content…
Indeed, the eastern front drained so many males that appealing to females seemed like the last resort. The lack of female commanders tends to confirm this hypothesis as well as the glorification of the male veteran in the postwar Soviet Union.
The relationship between Bolsheviks and peasants was tumultuous. The phenomenon of Bab’i Bunty (approximately: Women’s riots) illustrate the particular relations between peasant women and the Soviet rule during collectivization. Collectivization was a forced process in many villages, especially in Ukraine. Women were leading the protests, sometimes qualified as riots by local Bolshevik activists. Indeed, peasant women epitomized the old society they sought to transform. They were considered backwards, simple-minded and easily influenced:
“The Communist Party claimed that the underlying basis of women’s protest during collectivization was irrational female hysteria unleashed by the “kulak agitprop” […] reinforced by the women’s petit bourgeois […] instincts” (Viola and Farnsworth 1992)
Women used the contempt of Soviet leaders towards themselves to express their anger and discontent. Indeed, they were subjected to little repression. The case of peasant women highlights the challenge for Bolsheviks to reach out over its working class base, no matter the gender. However, their disregard towards peasant women suggests an underlying misogyny.

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