The Oppression of women in USSR and Europe

From:    Doug Henwood
Subject: Women in E Europe/USSR

The following is an excerpt from issue #38 of Left Business Observer (250
W 85 St, New York NY 10024, 212-874-4020). Electronic edition available
from New York On-Line (718-852-2662).

FRYING PANS & FIRES. In an appalling interview in the June issue
of Mother Jones, Tomas Jezek, an adviser to the Friedmanite Finance
Minister Vaclav Klaus, prescribed a strong dose of unemployment
for the Czech economy, now one of the healthiest in Eastern Europe.
Too many people are working, he said -- especially women, whose
"natural and primary role," he said, is at home with the kids.

	Not to get nostalgic for Stalinism, but the revolutions of
1989 don't look like a good deal for women. Moves are afoot across
the liberated zones to outlaw abortion, though not without vigorous
opposition. East German women, initially at the vanguard of devising
a new political order, now find themselves in the smothering embrace
of Helmut Kohl. Feminists, who had to listen for years while orthodox
Marxists told them to bite their tongues in the interests of the class
struggle, are now being told to remain silent as the glorious
marketized future is built.

	And here's Gorbachev, from  Perestroika: "[We have] failed to
pay attention to women's specific rights and needs arising from
their role as mother and home-maker, and their indispensable
educational function...." Working women "no longer have enough
time to perform their everyday duties at home -- housework, the
upbringing of children, and the creation of a good family
atmosphere. We have discovered that many of our problems...
are partially caused by the weakening of family ties and slack
attitude to family responsibilities.... [We want to] make it
possible for women to return to their purely womanly mission."