Soviet Gender Policy of the 1920s: Zaporizhzhia Dimension
The purpose of the research paper is to highlight the Soviet gender policy regarding women in Zaporizhzhia region in the 1920s and to uncover its main tasks, tools, means of implementation, and results.
The scientific novelty of the study is in the comprehensive disclosure of the tasks and line of effort for implementing of the Soviet gender policy in Zaporizhzhia region in the 1920s; special attention is paid to highlighting the peculiarities of involving women in production processes, membership in the Bilshovyk Party, and conducting of the eradication of illiteracy campaign. The results of the practical experience of emancipation based on the material of Zaporizhzhia region are highlighted as well.
Conclusions. The gender policy of the 1920s in Zaporizhzhia region had a typical list of tasks, the main goal of which should have been the Soviet emancipation of women: increasing the role of women in production processes, reducing employment in household activities, increasing their educational level and representation in the Bilshovyk Party. The leading role in emancipation activities was assigned to the delegate movement, which, by reaching a wider range of participants, was supposed to accelerate the Sovietization of women. However, due to the stalwart devotion to traditional gender relations and the gender division of labor in the region, implementing of emancipatory tasks had limited success. The quantitative indicators of the delegate movement were growing, but the real interest of women in it was declining in the second half of the 1920s.
‘Involvement’ of women in production processes, despite the increase in their number at some large enterprises, did not change the structure of gender distribution of employment in the industry of the region. At the large industrial enterprises of the city of Zaporizhzhia, where the activities of the Okruha Women’s Department (Zhenotdel) were the most consistent, the number of women among workers at the end of the 1920s did not reach even 9%. At the same time, women got wider opportunities to work on the construction of the DniproHES.
The declarative importance of the problem of expanding the representation of women in the Bilshovyk Party caused, along with established actions (such as the admission of women to the party on March 8), the search for tools for their ‘recruitment’ in the early 1920s. However, by the end of the 1920s, the number of women in the Bilshovyk Party remained practically unchanged (according to the data on Zaporizhzhia okruha – 10%). Success in eradicating female illiteracy and developing social infrastructure was limited as well. However, all those activities on Soviet emancipation incentivized the activity of women and provided additional opportunities for their personal potential realization.
Klymenko, O. (2016). Obraz «novoi liudyny» u spohadakh radianskykh robitnyts 1920-1930-kh rr. [The image of the “new person” in the memories of Soviet women workers of the 1920s and 1930]. Naukovi zapysky NaUKMA, 182: Istorychni nauky, 35-41 [in Ukrainian].
Kollontai, A. (1972). Sotsialnye osnovy zhenskogo voprosa [The social foundations of the women’s issue.]. Moskva: Politizdat [in Russian].
Kryvoshyi, O. (2011). “Spohady pro uchast zhinok v Hromadianskii viini ta zhinochomu rusi…” yak dzherelo do vyvchennia istorii Pivdennoi Ukrainy 1918-1924 rokiv [“Memories of women’s participation in the Civil War and the women’s movement…” as a source for studying the history of Southern Ukraine in 1918-1924]. Muzeinyi Visnyk, 11, 162-171 [in Ukrainian].
Kryvoshyi, O. (2013, Nov 23). Ukrainska Popeliushka na psevdo Zhemchuzhyna [Ukrainian Cinderella with the pseudonym Pearl]. Dzerkalo Tyzhnia. Retrieved from https://zn.ua/ukr/HISTORY/ukrayinska-popelyushka-na-psevdo-zhemchuzhina-_.html [in Ukrainian].
Labur, O. (2014). Spohady predstavnyts zhinviddiliv yak dzherelo vyvchennia radianskoi polityky “zhinochoho rozkripachennia” v Ukraini 1920-kh rr. [Memoirs of representatives of women’s departments as a source of studying the Soviet policy of ‘women’s liberation’ in Ukraine in the 1920s]. Storinky Istorii, 37, 117-127 [in Ukrainian].
Labur, O. (2020). “Vual radianskoho feminizmu”: zhinochi naratyvy pro pershi radianski henderni praktyky [‘Veil of Soviet feminism’: women’s narratives about the first Soviet gender practices]. Ukrainska Biohrafistyka = Biographistica Ukrainica, 20, 39-54. DOI: 10.15407/ub.20.039 [in Ukrainian].
Lebed, D. (1989) «O byte». Partiinaya etika. Dokumenty i materialy diskussii 20-kh godov [“About everyday life”. Party ethics. Documents and materials of the discussion of the 20s]. Moskva: Politizdat [in Russian].
Movchan, O. (2016). Likvidatsiia nepysemnosti (Liknep) [Eradication of illiteracy (Liknep)]. In Dziuba, I.M. (Ed). Entsyklopediia Suchasnoi Ukrainy. Kyiv. Retrieved from https://esu.com.ua/article-55470 [in Ukrainian].
Petrykin, V. (Ed). (1970). Istoriia mist i sil Ukrainskoi RSR. Zaporizka oblast [History of cities and villages of the Ukrainian SSR. Zaporizhzhia region]. Kyiv [in Ukrainian].
Savchenko, I. (2012). Diialnist Zaporizkoi birzhi pratsi z pratsevlashtuvannia zhinok v 20-kh rr. XX st. [Activities of the Zaporizhia Labor Exchange in the employment of women in the 1920s]. Naukovi zapysky. Zbirnyk prats molodykh vchenykh ta aspirantiv, 25, 144-146 [in Ukrainian].
Savchenko, I. (2019). Zhinky-delehatky na Zaporizhzhi 1920-kh rr.: sproba kolektyvnoho portretu [Women delegates in Zaporizhzhia in the 1920s: an attempt at a collective portrait]. Naukovi pratsi istorychnoho fakultetu Zaporizkoho natsionalnoho universytetu, 52 (1), 131-146 [in Ukrainian].
Savchenko, I. (2021). Vyrishennia “zhinochoho pytannia” ta “zminy” hendernykh rolei zhinok v spohadakh bilshovychok Zaporizhzhia v period Ukrainskoi revoliutsii 1917-1921 rr. [The solution of the ‘women’s issue’ and the ‘change’ of gender roles of women in the memoirs of Bolshevik women of Zaporizhzhia during the Ukrainian Revolution of 1917-1921]. In Istoriia Stepovoi Ukrainy: Stratehii doslidzhennia ta reprezentatsii. Zaporizhzhia: AA Tandem, 137-151 [in Ukrainian].
Sherstiuk, O. (Ed). (1968). Narysy z istorii Zaporizkoi oblasnoi partiinoi orhanizatsii [Essays on the history of the Zaporizhia regional party organization]. Kyiv: Politvydat Ukrainy [in Ukrainian].
Voronina, M. (2017). Bilshovytskyi emansypatsiinyi eksperyment u 1920-kh rokakh [Bolshevik emancipation experiment in the 1920s]. In Kis, O. (Ed.). Ukrainski zhinky u hornyli modernizatsii. Kharkiv: Klub simeinoho dozvillia, 106-131 [in Ukrainian].
Voronina, M., & Labur, O. (2020). “Pidvodne kaminnia” bilshovyzatsii / radianizatsii zhinotstva Oleksandrivskoho povitu (Zaporizhzhia) u 1900-1920-kh rr. [‘Pitfalls’ of bolshevization / sovietization of women of Oleksandrivsk District (Zaporizhzhia) in 1900-1920s]. Storinky Istorii, 51, 158-175. DOI: 10.20535/2307-5244.51.2020.220183 [in Ukrainian].
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.