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date: 23 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article discusses women and gender relations under communism, beginning in the Soviet Union in the 1920s, continuing through the Cold War era in Eastern Europe, and including Cuba and China today. It addresses communist gender theory, ideology, and discourse. Women’s role in politics and government is discussed. The article covers employment and education, the peasant and urban family, social policies, and socialist consumption. Under communism, the article argues, women, especially married mothers, broke through traditional resistance to women’s participation in paid, including skilled, labour. Their levels of education and employment increased dramatically in most communist states. Yet women did not attain economic equality with men in any communist society and their share of political power remained stunningly low.

Keywords: women, gender relations, communism, Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, China, education, employment, family, peasant

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