The Role Of Peasant Women In Soviet Society

1239 words - 5 pages

Agriculture played a fundamental role in the success and failure of many Society policies enacted throughout the twentieth century, such as the five-year plans and collectivization. The countryside’s importance is due to the need to provide for growing urban populations and because the large part of Soviet society, the majority women, resided in this area. These meant women were a critical part in all aspects of agriculture in the soviet countryside. The government realized this and promoted women in the workplace as heroes and role models, they also enacted progressive family codes to improve the position of women in society. However, these did not change the attitudes of society especially in the more rural areas. This was evident in that women were still expected to keep up domestic chores if they worked and in the amount of discrimination women experienced at home and in the workplace. Rural women were restricted to the lowest paying jobs that usually required the heaviest manual labor. High positions in the workforce were extremely difficult for women to attain, the exception being during wartime. The position of rural women in soviet society was extremely important, through their hard work and persistence the Soviet Union was able to survive especially during devastating wars, due to this it is important to understand their role in the countryside.
After the October Revolution of 1917, Soviet Society was dramatically changed in the countryside. Prior to the revolution the countryside consisted of family plots that allowed them sustain themselves. On these family farms women from a young age worked alongside men. The self-sustaining family plot was one in which every member of the family had their share of the work. However, in the late 1910’s the Soviet Union endured the effects of World War One and the civil war. These wars changed soviet society in rural areas; they ravaged the soviet population especially among males leaving a population among peasants mostly composed of women. The shortage man power in the countryside made it evident that although the government’s main goal was to promote industry, that agriculture, and therefore rural women, would be important toward the realization of industrialization goals.
Socially there were efforts to get rid of the traditional family structure; this was done by emancipating women from and enacting the Family Code of Oct. 22, 1918. The 1918 Family code legally got rid of illegitimacy, made abortion legal, established regulations for marriage and divorce and gave women equal rights and wages. (Denisova 2010, 68) While the code legally gave women the same rights as men, this was not always in practice. During this time 90% of women in the Soviet Union worked outside the home. (Denisova 2010, 12) In a speech by Bukharin in 1920 he even discusses the change in the role of women from the domestic village members to full-fledged party members. (Seventeen Moments in Soviet History) Women in the...

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