How were women and family affected by communism in the Soviet Union up until 1945?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In the early Soviet Union, communism changed life for women and families, but not to the extent that some hoped for.

Many communists felt that traditional families were an artifact of capitalism.  They felt that marriage and family as they were traditionally practiced were a way for men to oppress women.  Therefore, many communists felt that the old ways should be rejected just as the old economic and political ways were being discarded.  This led to some changes that affected women and families.

For example, marriage was weakened with divorce becoming easier and the religious aspect of marriage being removed.  Children born outside of marriage were to have the same rights as those born within marriage.  Abortion was legalized.  Women were allowed to vote.

But all of these things failed to truly change things for the better for women in the Soviet Union.  Women were paid less than men.  Even women who worked were expected to bear the vast majority of the work of caring for the family.  More husbands abandoned their wives under the new divorce laws. 

Thus, communism impacted women and families to some degree, but did not succeed in truly making women equal to men in the family or in the larger society.

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