This book began life as an article in the New York Times, recalls women’s lives in the Soviet bloc between the end of the war and the fall of the Berlin Wall. Their labour was needed, so the state enabled them to work by paying for the work that women do: creches, holiday care and old-age care.
Some countries like Romania, Stalin’s USSR were dreadful places for women. But some socialist state deemed women important enough, primarily as workers to support them. They wanted female workforce the state paid for what women contributed for free to society.
Eastern European states also invested in the education and training of women, in 1954, while my mother was cooking, knitting and mending may dad’ socks Bulgarian woman were subject of a film called ” I am a Woman Tractor Driver”, the last frame shows a woman in a cockpit ready for take-off.
In several communist countries before the pill, abortion was legal as state benefits enabled women to rear children and retire without being dependent on man. IN 1973, Bulgaria went so far to propose that while men did mandatory military service, women’s reproductive labours counted as an equivalent. East Germany was also so desperate to get women into workforce that the state declared marriage was not a prerequisite to motherhood. Not all Soviet states treated women well, as what women gained in terms of work they and the population at large lost in terms of personal liberty and freedom of speech.
Romania banned contraception, so abortion numbers were high. Stalin reversed several liberal policies, banned abortion and reinstated the notion of the traditional family.
“All class structures of our parent were broken down. No one cared where you came from or what school you’d gone to.”
Sexual freedom came at a price, which brought the horrors of backstreet abortion. The two worlds, of working-class women and the glamour of rock ‘n’ roll had little in common.
Ghodsee recalls how much she envies her sister and her children living in Denmark, a country that underwrites women’s right to work. She mentions ” I read a report reserach work by the Social Market Foundation on why Britain urgently needs women to play a big role in the work place. 70 per cent of working age British women are in employment, but nearly work part time and changing that will involve the state have to pay for child care.
Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism : And Other Arguments for Economic Independence by Kristen Ghodsee