Many women in Europe, like Clara Zetkin, and elsewhere were excited by the progress that was being made in Soviet Russia. Capitalism had been a disappointment to these women and they felt that communism would pave the way to more fulfilling lives. Previous to the revolution women were expected to take on traditional roles as housewives and mothers. Divorce favored men and women rarely had careers of their own and never alongside men. The Bolsheviks promised them equality in work and pay because, they believed that progress at work would naturally lead to equality between the sexes. They also promised to help wives and mothers free themselves from the burdens of the home by providing day cares for children, after school programs, community laundries and kitchens, maternity leave, and other helping institutions. In addition, work places and other after work programs would educate and train both men and women to be better workers and taught many to read (Smidowitsch 12). Furthermore, women gained the right to vote and could participate in policy making or hold important positions in unions and gender was n...
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...d begin the revolution and now the Zhenotdel acted as if the revolution had been a scheme planned and carried out by men only. By this time it is apparent that they would receive little help in the long run and with families and homes to care for, who had time to be an activist?
Traditional roles had long burdened women and communism’s promises gave them hope for a better life. In fact, the Bolshevik policies did improve women’s status in society. They could vote, divorce, work, etc. and they gained were given more opportunities for work and better pay. But the complete transformation envisioned by Linen and others never came to fruition and conditions for women were less than ideal. However, to say that the revolution was not also a revolution for women would be folly. It is certain that Russian policy would influence women elsewhere to demand similar rights.
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