Women in the Krushchev Era

Ilic, Melanie J and Attwood, L. and Reid, S E (2004) Women in the Krushchev Era. Palgrave. ISBN 1403920435

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Abstract

Melanie Ilic, ‘Women in the Khrushchev Era: an Overview’ (in Women in the Khrushchev Era) This chapter provides an overview of the changing roles and status of women in the Soviet Union in the Khrushchev era (1956-64). In this period of tentative de-Stalinisation, Khrushchev gave new impetus to the ‘woman question’ and reversed a number of important legal decisions concerning women and the family that had been introduced in the 1930s and 1940s. The outcome of the population losses and demographic imbalance resulting from the Second World War was that considerable emphasis was now placed on the health and welfare of women, in particular concerning their reproductive rights and maternal responsibilities. The relative economic prosperity of the post-war years provided additional material benefits and home comforts for all Soviet citizens, as well as bringing about changes in the conditions of employment in both industry and agriculture. The scope of production was now extended to the newly-developing territories and settlements of the ‘Virgin Lands’. These changes inevitably impacted on the lives of women. A new lease of life was given to women’s social and political organisations, and women’s representation in the various organs of government and administration increased substantially. Soviet women participated in, and convened, a number of important international conferences in these years. Whole generations of women, who had been active in, or eyewitness to, the events of the Russian revolutions of 1905 and 1917 were reaching old age by the 1950s, and they were now encouraged to record and publish their memoirs. In the public as well as the private realm, then, the Khrushchev era saw Soviet women once more propelled into the limelight, and, most startlingly of all, even into space. In preparing this chapter, I have drawn heavily on a number of Soviet women’s magazines that enjoyed mass circulation in the Khrushchev era. Most notable amongst these are Rabotnitsa (Woman Worker), Krest’yanka (Peasant Woman) and Zhenshchiny Mira (Women of the World, published by the Russian Women’s International Democratic Federation). During the Khrushchevian ‘thaw’ in international relations the Soviet Union explored and extended its communications with other countries, sometimes with the aid of the foreign language press. The magazine Soviet Woman, the monthly publication of the Soviet Women’s Anti-Fascist Committee and the All-Union Central Council of Trade Unions, was circulated widely in the western world and developing countries. Newspaper reports have provided interesting and important additional sources of information. The press media is an important source for exploring both the dissemination of official policy directives and the airing of popular opinion, taking into account the editorial constraints of the magazines and newspapers under review.

Item Type: Book
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DK Russia. Soviet Union. Former Soviet Republics
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Liberal and Performance Arts > Religious, Philosophical and Historical Studies
Research Priority Areas: Being Human - Past, Present & Future
Depositing User: EPrints Services
Date Deposited: 06 Mar 2014 11:03
Last Modified: 21 Jan 2016 16:29
URI: http://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/58

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