A liberation from emancipation? changing discourses on women's employment in Soviet and post-Soviet Russia

Kay, R. (2002) A liberation from emancipation? changing discourses on women's employment in Soviet and post-Soviet Russia. Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics, 18(1), pp. 51-72. (doi: 10.1080/13523270209696368)

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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13523270209696368


Since the demise of the Soviet Union there appears to have been a sharp and decisive move away from an ideology of equality and policies of women's emancipation. Dominant post-Soviet discourses support the notion of clearly delineated male and female roles and reject 'Soviet egalitarianism' as 'unnatural' and harmful to women, their families and society. Yet these contemporary discourses, and the often discriminatory policies and practices that they support, in fact form a direct progression from the pro-natalist policies encouraged in the 1970s and the questioning of women's place in the public sphere initiated by Mikhail Gorbachev in the late 1980s. This unacknowledged background to post-Soviet developments lends additional social and cultural weight to calls for women to 'return to the home'. Women are not immune from these pressures and frequently express at least superficial support for these essentialist discourses. Yet this support is belied by women's accounts of their own experiences of (un)employment, their personal aspirations and their commitment to the defence of women's right to individual freedom of choice.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Kay, Professor Rebecca
Authors: Kay, R.
Subjects:D History General and Old World > DK Russia. Soviet Union. Former Soviet Republics
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Central and East European Studies
Journal Name:Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics

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