The Evolution of Sexism Under Gorbachev: Abortion , Population Growth, and Societal Expectations Under Perestroika

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The purpose of this project is to investigate the lack of significant reform regarding women’s issues during the perestroika period. Part one establishes the foundational ideology by analyzing Marxist and Leninist ideas on women and comparing them to official Soviet doctrine as established by government officials and leading scholars. Also in this section is an overview of feminist theory in regards to both social policy and communism. These form the set of beliefs regarding the role of women in a socialist society upon which this project frames the investigation of several cases. The main examples for analysis are the practice of abortion as the primary birth control method and the government’s emphasis on population growth. Both cases incorporate society and the government as influencing factors for the creation of a gendered and patriarchal society while also representing areas of systematic sexism. Current literature has examined these cases independently from each other, however little research has been done analyzing them in tandem along with sexism, communist ideology, and perestroika. Therefore, this projects seeks to investigate the stagnation of reforms in the area of women’s issues under Gorbachev despite the potential for significant strides early in the perestroika period.

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  • 04/20/2018
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