As communism spread in the twentieth century, communist regimes initially enacted gender reforms in order to gain a female following. “While women struggled for freedom throughout the western world, communist revolutions were radically equalizing for females, helping the suffragettes everywhere. “However, as feminist movements became more radical, communist governments slowed this reform. While women struggled for freedom throughout the western world, communist revolutions were radically equalizing for females, helping the suffragettes everywhere.
The Soviets even had a special part of the government devoted to women, whereas in the west, women struggled to vote, have jobs, or gain political voices. Women’s rights have been a struggle since the early beginnings of industrialization. Communist ideologies on rapid industrialization and the corresponding need to include larger numbers of women in the industrial workforce. Communism helped the struggle for women’s equality in the 20th century, but it also showed how women had to deal with having little to no rights.
In the early stages of communism, women had successful reforms since communism was so radical and new, that allowed gender reforms. (Doc. 1,2,3,5). In Document. 1, Alexandra Kollotani noticed how her party cared little about the fate of working class women and states that true women’s liberation could only be achieved as part of a communist revolution. This demonstrates that Kollotani was aware that communist revolution could help. Kollotani wrote this since she noticed a lack of concern for women’s rights in 1905 among the Bolsheviks and helped achieve improvements for women.
In Document 2, Mariia Fedorovna, a Soviet official, explains that the Muslim tradition of wearing veils opposes the fundamentals of the Communist Party. This shows how the communist ideals supported equality since veiling was seen as remnant of feudal past. The author’s purpose is to convince Uzbek members of the Communist Party and the Komsomol of the need to start implementing the party’s policy on veiling. This is reflected in the uncompromising tone of her message. The document makes it clear that Soviet officials are facing some resistance to their policies, including from within the party’s ranks.
In the North Vietnamese Constitution of 1960, it claims that women have complete equality to men, however they did not (Document 3). It is a government document, so obviously it would glorify Vietnam as a country flooding with equality. Therefore, they would add important things that looked that women were equal with equal pay, paid maternity leave and access to maternity care, child-care, and education. The Chinese propaganda poster in Document 5, shows women in a variety of professional occupations.
China’s communist government had implemented a 5 year economic plan which focused on industrialization of trains, factories, and military technologies. In order to accomplish its goals all members of society needed to be part of the workforce, therefore it is not surprising women are asked to have less children and to join all types of jobs. This shows that Communist movements supported the advancement of women’s roles. This poster, made to gather support for the communist revolution, was published to appeal to the wants and needs of women.
Chinese communism provides women opportunities in key, high-tech jobs, women are needed to help China modernize and the poster promotes delaying child birth so women can join labor force. However, after the communist regimes became established, communist leaders were less willing to give in to female demands. The president of Cuba, Fidel Castro, was speaking out against women’s discrimination making it clear that women were not given the opportunities promised by the revolutions despite them being qualified.
Document 6 is Cuban communist leader, Fidel Castro, speaking to a women’s organization. This was written because it is likely that he is trying to persuade more women to join the communist party. Castro admits that women didn’t attain equality in communist Cuba, but women have high communist credentials that men do not have. In Document 4, while likely accurate, coming from a US source raises the question of its legitimacy, as the US was locked in the Cold War with the USSR, and may have simply wanted to rally the American people against the Soviet Union.
Majority of data shows women not equal to men in USSR with PHD’s, Professors, Associate Professors, Senior Researchers, but women close to parity in Junior Research category. In Document 7, it shows that most women suffer in Communist Romania. Women did get factory jobs, but food shortages hurt women and families. Women were stuck doing domestic work after long days in factories while wives of party officials live rich lives. This was written to show the first lady that while she is living her lavish lifestyle, people are dying in Romania and they make food easier to find, work less hours for more pay and have justice in our country.
The communist movements affected women’s struggle for rights both beneficial and demanding. Another movement that occurred that allowed women to vote was The Women’s Rights Movement. Women began to see themselves as more equal to men, demanding equal pay for equal work as well as even being in the same workforce as men. The 19th Amendment to the Constitution allowed all American women and declared that they deserve all the rights and responsibilities of citizenship just like men do.