Skip to main content Accessibility help
  • Print publication year: 2006
  • Online publication date: March 2008

17 - Women and the state

from Part II - Russia and the Soviet Union: Themes and Trends


By the early twentieth century, far-reaching changes had begun to challenge Russia's traditional gender hierarchies. Women had established a significant presence in public life by the early twentieth century. Nearly half a million women, mainly of peasant origin, laboured in Russia's factories, constituting almost 30 per cent of the industrial labour force. The Revolution of 1905 demonstrated that no organisation or individual could speak for women as a group. Undermined by political divisions, the women's movement lost membership and momentum in the post-1905 reaction. Women constituted some 15 per cent of the membership of the Socialist Revolutionary Party and 10 per cent of the Russian Social Democratic Workers' Party on the eve of the First World War. During 1917, the Bolshevik Party made only half-hearted efforts to attract women. The death of Joseph Stalin and the rise of Nikita Khrushchev brought a shift in Soviet state's relationship to the 'question of women'.
Bonnell, Victoria E., Iconography of Power: Soviet Political Posters under Lenin and Stalin (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997).
Bridger, Susan, Kay, Rebecca, and Pinnick, Kathryn, No More Heroines? Russia, Women and the Market (New York: Routledge, 1996).
Bridger, Susan, Women in the Soviet Countryside: Women’s Roles in Rural Development in the Soviet Union (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987).
Buckley, Mary, Women and Ideology in the Soviet Union (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1989).
Buckley, Mary, (ed.), Perestroika and Soviet Women (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992).
Buckley, Mary, (ed.), Post-Soviet Women: From the Baltic to Central Asia (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997).
Burds, Jeffrey, ‘The Early Cold War in Soviet West Ukraine, 1944–1948’, Carl Beck Papers in Russian and East European Studies, no. 1505 (Pittsburgh: Center for Russian and East European Studies, University of Pittsburgh, 2001).
Clements, Barbara Evans Friedman, Rebecca, and Healey, Dan (eds.), Russian Masculinities in History and Culture (New York: Palgrave, 2002).
Cottam, K. Jean, ‘Soviet Women in World War II: The Ground Forces and the Navy’, International Journal of Women’s Studies 3 (1980).
Dunham, Vera S., In Stalin’s Time: Middle Class Values in Soviet Fiction (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1990).
Elwood, R. C., Inessa Armand:Revolutionary and Feminist (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992).
Farnsworth, Beatrice, and Viola, Lynne (eds.), Russian Peasant Women (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992).
Field, Deborah, ‘“Irreconcilable Differences”: Divorce and Conceptions of Private Life in the Khrushchev Era’, Russian Review 57, 4 (Oct. 1998).
Fieseler, Beate, ‘The Making of Russian Female Social Democrats, 1890–1917’, International Review of Social History 34 (1989).
Filtzer, Donald, Soviet Workers and De-stalinization: The Consolidation of the Modern System of Soviet Production Relations, 195 3–1964 (London: Cambridge University Press, 1992).
Glickman, Rose, Russian Factory Women: Workplace and Society, 1880–1914 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984).
Goldman, Wendy Zeva, ‘The Death of the Proletarian Women’s Movement’, Slavic Review 55, 1 (1996).
Goldman, Wendy Zeva, Women at the Gates: Gender and Industry in Stalin’s Russia (New York and Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002).
Goldman, Wendy Zeva, Women, the State and Revolution: Soviet Family Policy and Social Life, 1917–1936 (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993).
Healey, Dan, Homosexual Desire in Revolutionary Russia: The Regulation of Sexual and Gender Dissent (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001).
Hodgson, Katharine, ‘The Other Veterans: Soviet Women’s Poetry of World War 2’, in John, and Garrard, Carol (eds.), World War 2 and the Soviet People: Selected Papers from the Fourth World Congress for Soviet and East European Studies, Harrogate 1990 (New York: St Martin’s Press, 1993).
Hoffman, David, ‘Mothers in the Motherland: Stalinist Pronatalism in its Pan-European Context’, Journal of Social History (Fall 2000).
Holland, Barbara (ed.), Soviet Sisterhood (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1985).
Koenker, Diane, ‘Men against Women on the Shop Floor in Early Soviet Russia’, American Historical Review 100 (1995).
Krylova, Anna, ‘“Healers of Wounded Souls”: The Crisis of Private Life in Soviet Literature, 1944–1946’, Journal of Modern History 73, 2 (June 2001).
Lapidus, Gail Warshofsky, Women in Soviet Society: Equality, Development and Social Change (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978).
Lindenmeyr, Adele, ‘Maternalism and Child Welfare in Late Imperial Russia’, Journal of Women’s History 5, 2 (1993).
Mamonova, Tatyana (ed.), Women and Russia: Feminist Writings from the Soviet Union (Boston: Beacon Press, 1984).
Marsh, Rosalind (ed.), Women in Russia and Ukraine (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996).
Marsh, Rosalind (ed.),Women and Russian Culture (Oxford: Berghahn Books, 1998).
Neary, Rebecca Balmas, ‘Mothering Socialist Society: The Wife-Activists’ Movement and the Soviet Culture of Daily Life’, Russian Review 58, 3 (July 1999).
Pilkington, Hillary, Gender, Generation and Identity in Contemporary Russia (New York: Routledge, 1996).
Ransel, David, Village Mothers: Three Generations of Change in Russia and Tataria (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2000).
Sacks, Michael, Women’s Work in Soviet Russia: Continuity in the Midst of Change (New York: Praeger, 1976).
Sanborn, Joshua, ‘Family, Fraternity and Nation-Building in Russia, 1905–1925’, in Suny, Ronald Grigor and Martin, Terry (eds.), A State of Nations: Empire and Nation-Making in the Age of Lenin and Stalin (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002).
Schlesinger, Rudolf (ed.), The Family in the USSR: Documents and Readings (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1949).
Silverman, Bertram, and Murray, Yanowitch, New Rich, New Poor, New Russia: Winners and Losers on the Russian Road to Capitalism (Armonk, N.Y.: M. E. Sharpe, 1997).
Sperling, Valerie, Organizing Women in Contemporary Russia: Engendering Transition (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999).
Wade, Rex (ed.), Documents of Soviet History, vol 11: Triumph and Retreat, 1920–1922 (Gulf Breeze, Fla: Academic International Press, 1991).
Wagner, William, Marriage, Property and Law in Late Imperial Russia (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994).
Waters, Elizabeth, ‘The Modernization of Russian Motherhood, 1917–1936’, Soviet Studies 44, 1 (1992).
Wood, Elizabeth, The Baba and the Comrade: Gender and Politics in Revolutionary Russia (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1997).