History Soviet Union

Women in Soviet Society: Equality, Development, and Social Change

Women in Soviet Society: Equality,
Development, and Social Change
Gail Warshofsky LapidusUniversity of California

From the earliest years of the Soviet regime, deliberate transformation of the role of women in economic, political, and family life aimed at incorporating female mobilization into a larger strategy of national development. Addressing a neglected problem in the literature on modernization, the author brings an interdisciplinary approach to the analysis of the motivations, mechanisms, and consequences of the official Soviet commitment to female liberation, and its implications for the role of women in Soviet society today. She argues that Soviet policy was shaped less by the individualistic and libertarian concerns of nineteenth-century feminism or Marxism than by a strategy of modernization in which the transformation of women’s roles was perceived by the Soviet leadership as the means of tapping a major economic and political resource. Bringing together the available data, the author analyzes the scope and limits of sexual equality in the Soviet system, and at the same time places the Soviet pattern in a broader historical and comparative perspective.

Table of Contents:

Introduction: The Politics of Equality and the Soviet Model
1. The Woman Question in Prerevolutionary Russia: Changing Perceptions and Changing Realities
2. Toward Sexual Equality: Revolutionary Transformation and its Limits, 1917-1930
3. The Stalinist Synthesis: Economic Mobilization and New Patterns of Authority
4. Enabling Conditions of Sexual Equality: Affirmative Action, Soviet-Style
5. Women and Work: Changing Economic Roles
6. Women and Power: Changing Political Roles
7. Women and the Family: Changing Attitudes and Behavior
8. Sex Roles and Public Policy: The Spectrum of Reassessments and Proposals
9. Sexual Equality and Soviet Policy: Toward a Comparative Perspective