© 2009

Gender Politics and Everyday Life in State Socialist Eastern and Central Europe

  • Editors
  • Shana Penn
  • Jill Massino

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Introduction

  3. Work, Activism, and Identity

  4. Sex, Reproduction, Family Relations, and Domestic Space

  5. Consumption, Leisure, and Culture

  6. Gender and Resistance

  7. Back Matter
    Pages 221-292

About this book


This book showcases extensive research on gender under state socialism, examining the subject in terms of state policy and law; sexuality and reproduction; the academy; leisure; the private sphere; the work world; opposition activism; and memory and identity.


equality Europe gender history Hungary identity memory Poland women

About the authors

SHANA PENN is a visiting scholar at the Center for Jewish Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, USA. JILL MASSINO is currently a visiting scholar in the history department at Northwestern University, USA.

Bibliographic information


"The commonly held view that women in Communist Eastern Europe uniformly suffered under the double or triple burden of paid work, household duties, and child care gets a more nuanced examination in this collection. Many essays are based on interviews with women who lived through those years and reveal their lives in all their complexity . . .overall the collection is rewarding for its insights and exposure of women s lived experiences." - Publisher s Weekly

"This book enriches our understanding of the legacies of state socialism and the ways in which gender in these societies even today continues to be shaped by the living practices of the past. This is a robust and broad-ranging set of studies that remind us not only of the failures of socialism but also alert us to the ways in which women s lives were changed and indeed empowered because of the opportunities and challenges of that era." - Jean C. Robinson, Professor of Political Science, Indiana University

"This volume offers a comprehensive and unique portrait of women living under socialism, capturing in a distinctive way the multiplicity of tensions in everyday life that provided new opportunities and resources to women (and for that matter, to men also), in an omnipresent state that forced upon them certain ideologies and limitations. This volume provides an extraordinary opportunity to hear women s voices and learn through their lives about the ambiguities of socialism." - Joanna Regulska, Professor of Women s and Gender Studies and Geography, Rutgers University