“Labor as freedom, labor as burden”: on the early period of women’s professional employment in Russia

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This article discusses the emergence of the Russian working woman employed in skilled labor from the second half 19th century until the 1930s. In Russia, educated women entered the sphere of socially significant labor during the Great Reforms. The subsequent development largely explains the position of the working woman in modern Russia - hence the topicality of the present paper. Sources for this article are record-keeping documents of tsarist and Soviet institutions, statistical information, press materials as well as memoirs. Among the factors that influenced the formation of the Russian female working class in the pre-revolutionary period were a social movement for the development of female education, the emergence of special vocational schools for women, the Zemstvo reforms, industrialization and, eventually, World War I. The article shows changes in the nature of the employment of women after the 1917 Revolution. The authors document the rapid growth of women’s participation in all spheres of the USSR’s national economy in the 1930s, in particular health care, education, and work in the apparatus of state, party and economic bodies. As a result, during this period the professional traits of the three main types of Soviet female workers were formed: the woman-doctor, the woman-teacher and the womanfunctionary. At the same time, the authors come to the conclusion that Soviet rule brought no fundamental changes in the conditions of everyday life, so that the Soviet woman-intellectual turned out to be a “fighter of two fronts” - labor and domestic.

About the authors

Olga M Morozova

Don State Technical University

Author for correspondence.
Email: olgafrost@gmail.com

Doctor of Historical Sciences, Professor at the Department of Public Relations of Don State Technical University

1, pl. Gagarina, Rostov-on-Don, 344000, Russia

Tatyana I Troshina

Northern (Arctic) Federal University named after M. Lomonosov; Northern State Medical University

Email: tatr-arh@mail.ru

Doctor of Historical Sciences, Professor of the Department of Social Work and Social Security of NArFU

17, Severnaya Dvina Embankment, Arkhangelsk, 163004, Russia; 51, Troitsky Ave., Arkhangelsk, 163000, Russia

Elena A Yalozina

Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation

Email: EAYalozina@fa.ru

Candidate of Historical Sciences, Associate Professor of the Department of Sociology, History and Philosophy of the Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation

49, Leningradsky Prospect, Moscow, 125993, Russia


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Copyright (c) 2019 Morozova O.M., Troshina T.I., Yalozina E.A.

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