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Women in Post-Revolutionary Russia: The Opportunities and Obstacles

Uploaded by Jamie on Jan 11, 2001

The last Tsar of Russia abdicated the throne in February of 1917. With the fall of the old regime, many old gender barriers fell, as well. The period after the Bolsheviks rose to power was a time of many changes for all Russians, but none were more affected than the women of the time. Lenin, the leader of the Bolshevik party (later called the Communists) was greatly disturbed by the domestic enslavement of Soviet women, and almost immediately granted political equality for females throughout the nation. With this newfound freedom, women were presented with many new opportunities in all aspects of life, and many challenges, as well. Lenin reformed many civil and penal codes to the advantage of women. Almost overnight all learning institutions opened their doors to both sexes, which suddenly gave women the opportunity to strive for professional careers and higher paying jobs. Women were given equal standing in marriage, and it became possible for them to get divorced, to have abortions, and to sue for child support. Women could own property. Within the Communist party, women rose to leadership positions. In theory, there was complete equality between the sexes.

However, even with the advantages of the Communist leadership, there were some pitfalls, as well. While the increased leniency of divorce laws was obviously an advantage to many unhappy wives, some men made use of the new freedom also. Some women were left to raise their children alone, and without the salary of their husbands, found it almost impossible. Although these women now had complete economic independence under the laws of Lenin, in practice all was not as simple. With several young children to watch over during the day, it was difficult for any mother to be able to engage in any work outside of family life. The realities of these women were shown clearly in Alexandra Kollontai’s novel Love of Worker Bees. based on life in post-revolutionary Russia. When Mr. Feodoseev abandons his wife for another woman, she is horrified at the thought of trying to get a job while raising three school-aged children. However, in Kollontai’s novel, she is seen as petty and jealous by certain members of the party, instead of a woman with great financial difficulties. Perhaps this shows a certain blindness that many...

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Uploaded by:   Jamie

Date:   01/11/2001

Category:   Russian History

Length:   6 pages (1,254 words)

Views:   2654

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